Dismaying news out of Indonesia today that Bali’s chief prosecutor is hoping to transfer Bali Nine duo Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan from Kerobokan prison tonight or tomorrow night, in preparation for execution.

The Indonesian government is planning to kill Chan and Sukumaran, despite widespread international protest and persistent representations from the Australian government to save them.

Melbourne barrister Julian McMahon, who has worked tirelessly to defend the pair, told media in Bali yesterday: “If my clients are moved from here to a place of execution while they are in the process of having an appeal heard, that would be a shocking thing.” McMahon and his team plan to lodge an appeal against President Joko Widodo’s refusal to grant the pair clemency this week.

We agree with Jakarta Post senior editor Endy Bayuni that killing two reformed drug smugglers from Australia, alongside eight other prisoners from several other countries, would be extremely damaging for Indonesia. In a pointed editorial published yesterday, Bayuni called for a moratorium on executions and a national referendum on abolishing the death penalty in Indonesia:

“More than to save the lives of two Australians and all other foreigners on death row, a moratorium on executions would save Jokowi from making the biggest mistake of his presidency. Most important of all, it would save Indonesia.”

Widodo should back down. It is in his own interests, in the interests of his relationship with Australia and, far beyond either of those, in the interests of Indonesia.

Peter Fray

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