Mercy pleas for Indonesia death row inmates as families arrive

Families of foreign drug convicts set to be hauled before the firing squad in Indonesia issued desperate mercy pleas on Saturday, as relatives and diplomats descended on the prison island Nusakambangan ahead of the looming executions. The foreigners - two from Australia, one each from Brazil, France and the Philippines, and four from Africa - have all lost appeals for clemency from President Joko Widodo, who argues that Indonesia is fighting a drugs emergency. Widodo has turned a deaf ear to increasingly clamorous appeals on the convicts’ behalf from their governments, from social media and from others such as band Napalm Death - the president is a huge heavy metal fan. Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan who were sentenced to death in 2006, are the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” heroin-smuggling gang.

My brother made a mistake 10 years ago and he’s paid for this mistake every single day since then. From the bottom of my heart, please President Widodo have mercy on my brother… change punishment for humanity.

Sister of Australian drug trafficker Myuran Sukumaran

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop on Saturday renewed Canberra’s appeals for Widodo “to have a change of heart” but admitted she feared the worst, while France has said the execution of its citizen would be “incomprehensible”. Jakarta has said an exact date for the executions could not be decided yet, as a judicial review was still pending for the sole Indonesian in the group of 10 people who face death by firing squad. The Indonesian government gives an official 72 hour notice of execution beforehand.