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November 20 2008 | INDONESIA


92 convicts await their fate on death row

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Jakarta Post

92 convicts await their fate on death row, AGO says

Despite international and national calls for the government to forgo the death penalty, the Attorney General's Office (AGO) insists it will execute the 92 convicts currently on death row, including nine Australian drug traffickers.

Assistant attorney general for general crimes Abdul Hakim Ritonga said in Jakarta on Friday that 14 death-row convicts had appealed to the President for clemency; 38 had filed judicial reviews and the rest were undecided about their next courses of action.

"The death sentences of the 92 convicts have been declared legally binding and are pending administrative procedures (before they are carried out)," Ritonga said.

Among the 38 convicts requesting judicial reviews are three Australians part of a group of drug traffickers labeled the Bali nine who were arrested in Bali in 2005, he said.

The nine couriers were arrested after attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of pure heroin worth A$4 million (US$2.63 million) from Bali to Australia.

In 2006, the Supreme Court sentenced six of them -- Scott Rush, Myuran Sukumaran, Andrew Chan, Si Yi Chen, James Norman and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen -- to death. The other three -- Renae Lawrence, Martin Stephens and Michael Czugaj -- were sentenced to 20 years in jail each.

However, early this March, the Supreme Court upped the death sentences of Si, Norman and Tan to life imprisonment.

"I was informed that the appeals filed by the other three (Rush, Sukumaran and Chan) were rejected, but not all of them," Ritonga said, declining to elaborate.

The Australian government has said it will seek clemency for the Bali Nine if the legal processes fail.

Australia does not enact capital punishment. Australia's foreign minister Stephen Smith said last week it would push for a new United Nations resolution against the death penalty.

The AGO has asked other countries not to interfere in Indonesia's judiciary system.

"As long as capital punishment serves as a positive law in Indonesia, the AGO will stick to it," AGO spokesman Jasman Pandjaitan said.

Indonesia came under the world's spot light when the government executed the three Bali bombers -- Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Mukhlas -- after several delays.

The three were shot to death on the prison island of Nusa Kambangan, Central Java, on the eve of Nov. 9. They had been declared guilty of masterminding bombings in Kuta in October 2002 that killed 202 people, 88 of them Australians.

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