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CILACAP, Indonesia — Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were transferred on Wednesday from a Bali prison to an island for execution along with other foreigners, underlining Indonesia's determination to use the death penalty despite international criticism.
The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions between Australia and Indonesia following repeated pleas for mercy on their behalf. They are among a group of up to 11 convicts, mostly foreigners, scheduled to go before a firing squad on the prison island of Nusakambangan.
Indonesian Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo, who had previously said all 11 would be executed, said on Wednesday his office was still evaluating how many would go before firing squads. All had been convicted on drug offences. "We want to send a message...to the people of the world, that Indonesia is trying hard to battle drug crimes," Prasetyo said.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was "revolted by the prospect of these executions" after Indonesian President Joko Widodo recently told others to stay out of his country's sovereign affairs. Chan and Sukumaran were convicted in 2005 as the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine, who were arrested at Denpasar airport for trying to smuggle 18 lb of heroin to Australia.