Australia could have a “human tsunami” of 10,000 migrants on its shores if it does not tone down criticism of Indonesia’s planned executions of drug traffickers, a senior official warned.
The Indonesian minister for political, legal and security affairs – Tedjo Edy Purdjianto – said yesterday that Canberra should be grateful for keeping asylum seekers away from Australia.
He criticised the country’s continuing pressure on Indonesia, a nation with one of the most strictest drug laws in the world, for putting two Australian nationals on death row.
Eight other convicts — seven foreigners and an Indonesian – are also facing the death penalty in a group firing squad execution.
Ten years on from the tsunami
Ten years on from the tsunami
1/8 The 2004 tsunami (Then/Now)
Damage in front of the Baiturrahman mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on 27 December 2004, and a view of the same area this month
2/8 The 2004 tsunami (Then/Now)
The devastation at a hotel along Patong Beach in Phuket, Thailand on 27 December 2004, and a view of the La Flora Resort on the same beach this month
3/8 The 2004 tsunami (Then/Now)
Damage caused by a boat on top of a destroyed house in Banda Aceh taken on 15 January 2005, and a woman walking past the same spot this month
4/8 The 2004 tsunami (Then/Now)
Damage in front of the Baiturrahman mosque in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, on 26 December 2004, and a view of the same area this month
5/8 The 2004 tsunami (Then/Now)
Bodies lie waiting to be transported by boat in Phi Phi Village, on Ton Sai Bay, Thailand on December 28, 2004, and below, the same area this month
6/8 The 2004 tsunami (Then/Now)
A partly damaged mosque in the Lampuuk coastal district of Banda Aceh on January 16, 2005, and the mosque today
7/8 The 2004 tsunami (Then/Now)
Debris scattered across the grounds of Banda Aceh's Baiturrahaman mosque on December 28, 2004, and the same scene today
8/8 The 2004 tsunami (Then/Now)
Debris covering the streets of Banda Aceh after the tsunami and the same location today
Australians Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, were flown last week from a prison on the resort island of Bali to the Nusakambangan Island prison off the main island of Java, where executions are carried out.
Another man, Rodrigo Gularte from Brazil, has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and his execution would be a violation of Indonesian and international law. Brazilian lawyers and diplomats have been campaigning for the decision to be reconsidered.
Chan and Sukumaran had led a drug smuggling group called “the Bali Nine” and were arrested in 2005 after a tip-off by Australian police after trying to smuggle more than 18 pounds (eight kilograms) of heroin from Bali to Sydney.
The other seven members were handed prison terms.
The firing squads will execute the group of 10 people simultaneously in pairs. The execution date will not be set until all of them have exhausted legal appeals.
Mr Purdjianto also said that Australia should “have to thank us” for foiling a smuggler’s attempt to sneak 862 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine into the country.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott responded today by saying that Indonesia would be making a counterproductive mistake in carrying out the death penalties.
He said: “These two individuals, because they’re reformed, have now become an asset in Indonesia’s fight against drug crime, and that’s why I think it would be counterproductive to execute them.”
Also today, the Grand Mufti of Australia Ibrahim Abu Mohamed met with Indonesia’s Minister of Religious Affairs Lukman Hakim Saifuddin and other Islamic figures to plea “with respect and humility for mercy for the lives of two young Australians.”
Indonesia executed six drug convicts including foreigners in January, drawing protests from Brazil and the Netherlands, which withdrew their ambassadors after their citizens were denied clemency appeals. More than 130 people are on death row, including 57 drug convicts.