Norway asks Indonesia to halt executions of Australians

Jakarta [AAP]

Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg has reportedly asked Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo to halt the executions of Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

Ms Solberg visited Jakarta for bilateral talks on Tuesday and afterwards told the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang that she ‘asked explicitly not to implement the imminent death sentences’.

She said Mr Joko had responded that it was part of Indonesia’s legal system and that Indonesia faced a huge drug problem.

‘My experience is that they are listening,’ Ms Solberg said.

‘But it is important to mobilise internal support to liquidate the death penalty.

‘We as politicians must always point this out to politicians from Indonesia, but I think it’s just as important what civil society in Indonesia says.’

Sukumaran, 33, and Chan, 31, await execution on a central Java island for their roles in the Bali Nine effort to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia in 2005.

The Norwegian newspaper on Tuesday splashed a story about Sukumaran, who worked with Norwegian academics and students to initiate rehabilitation programs in Kerobokan prison, where he spent most of the past decade.

Student Espen Nordstrom has met Sukumaran around 20 times and told the newspaper the Australian regretted the choices he had made when he was younger.

‘He always seemed incredibly quiet and had a big smile,’ he said.

Sukumaran turns 34 on Friday, an occasion that is being marked in London with an exhibition of his paintings, held with the support of Amnesty International.

The Australian pair and eight other drug offenders are next in line for the firing squad, but Jakarta has not set a date.

Norway is firmly against capital punishment. It has strong ties with Indonesia in various areas, including conservation, climate change and energy.

Indonesian beheaded

Riyadh [AFP]

Saudi Arabia has beheaded an Indonesian domestic worker who knifed to death a Saudi woman described in press reports as her employer.

Amnesty International said the sentence against Siti Zainab was carried out despite suspicions she was mentally ill.

Her case adds to what the London-based watchdog calls a ‘macabre spike’ in Saudi executions this year.

The interior ministry said Zainab was executed after being convicted of stabbing and beating Saudi woman Noura al-Morobei to death.

Authorities carried out the sentence on Tuesday in the Muslim holy city of Medina, the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Zainab’s execution brings to 60 the number of foreigners and Saudis executed this year, according to an AFP tally.

Jakarta’s embassy in Riyadh declined to comment on the case.

According to Indonesian newspaper Kompas, Zainab was convicted of killing her employer in 1999, despite concerns about her mental health.

Her execution was delayed until the victim’s children were old enough to decide whether the punishment should go ahead, the Saudi interior ministry said.

‘Imposing the death penalty and executing someone with a suspected mental illness smacks of a basic lack of humanity,’ said Philip Luther, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa director.

A United Nations resolution has called on states not to execute or impose the death penalty on people with mental disorders, Amnesty added.

‘She had no legal representation at any stage and did not have access to a consular representative during the police interrogation when she had made her ‘confession’,’ Amnesty said.

It cited sources in Indonesia as saying Zainab admitted to stabbing her employer 18 times because of alleged mistreatment.


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