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Countdown appears to start for execution of foreigners in Indonesia

The family of Philippine death row prisoner Mary Jane Veloso, who was moved today to the prison island of Nusakambangan in Central Java, arrive at Soekarno Hatta airport on their way to visit her, in Jakarta

By Randy Fabi and Kanupriya Kapoor

Indonesia has asked foreign embassies to send representatives to a maximum security prison ahead of the expected execution of 10 drug convicts, although an official 72-hour notice of execution has not been given yet, diplomats said on Friday.

Among the convicted drug offenders set to face the firing squad are nationals from Australia, Brazil, France and Nigeria and the case has strained relations between the governments of those nations and Indonesia.

“It’s true, we have been told to be there on Saturday,” said a foreign embassy official who asked not to be identified because she was not authorised to speak to the media.

“We still don’t know when the actual date of execution will happen but we expect that it will be in days.”

Security was heightened on Friday at the prison island of Nusakambangan off the Javanese port of Cilacap, where the executions will take place. It was not immediately clear why the representatives from the four countries had been summoned.

A police spokesman said orders to prepare the firing squad had not yet come from the Attorney General’s Office.

The Attorney General has been waiting for all the legal processes of the 10 death row inmates to be completed before announcing an execution date.

Lawyers were scrambling to various Indonesian courts in a last-ditch attempt to delay the execution. But the only outstanding appeal considered still valid by the attorney general was for an Indonesian national, said spokesman Tony Spontana.

The attorney general will announce the date of the execution in Jakarta but it was not yet clear when that would happen, he said.

On a visit to Indonesia, Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay is expected to meet President Joko Widodo on Friday to make a final appeal for mercy on behalf of one its citizens that is among the group of 10.

France has warned Indonesia that the executions could damage ties, while Australia has pleaded repeatedly for clemency for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, two Australians arrested as ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine drug-smuggling group.

The members of the Bali Nine were arrested at the main airport on the holiday island of Bali for trying to smuggle 8 kg (18 lb) of heroin to Australia. The seven other members of the gang, all Australians, have been jailed in Indonesia.

Indonesia has harsh punishments for drug crimes and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap. Six executions have been carried out so far this year.

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