The prospects of Australian drug traffickers Schapelle Corby and Andrew Chan successfully appealing to Indonesia’s president for clemency were dealt a blow yesterday, when Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said he got plenty of requests from foreigners but rejects ”almost” all of them.
”I often receive requests from many countries, be they directly or indirectly [communicated], be they written or not written,” Dr Yudhoyono said in a televised speech yesterday.
”My answer is that law is supreme above everything else. I turn down almost all requests of pardon and acquittal from the death sentence.
”It is for the sake of justice. Our fellow countrymen get [the] death sentence for heavy crimes, why would we then grant a pardon for foreign nationals?”
Corby, serving a 20-year term for smuggling cannabis into Indonesia, lodged her clemency bid almost a year ago.
While a panel of Supreme Court judges, which considered the clemency bid first, recommended her sentence be cut to 10 years, it will be the Indonesian leader who makes the final call. Chan, an organiser of the Bali nine heroin trafficking ring, had his death sentence confirmed last week. His legal team has flagged an appeal to Dr Yudhoyono.
Another Australian, Myuran Sukumaran, is waiting on the outcome of his final legal appeal against the death penalty.
If it fails, he will also plead for a presidential pardon.
Dr Yudhoyono was speaking after an Indonesian maid, Ruyati binti Sapubi, was executed over the weekend in Saudi Arabia, decapitated by sword. Her death sparked outrage among Indonesians, prompting the country to recall its ambassador, who was not consulted that the killing was imminent.
Indonesia has since announced it will ban all its migrant workers from going to Saudi Arabia from August.
Dr Yudhoyono warned Indonesians overseas ”to understand the legal system and local customs and local style”.
”The same thing I ask to foreign nationals who live in Indonesia, it is mandatory for them to also understand and obey the system and legal practices applied in our country.”
There are more than 100 people on death row in Indonesia, but there have been no executions for 21/2 years. Some people have reportedly been waiting on death row for up to 40 years.