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 Beginning of end for Chan and Sukumaran

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BerichtOnderwerp: Beginning of end for Chan and Sukumaran   do 12 feb 2015 - 9:42

The West Australian, February 12, 2015,

Bali officials have signalled the beginning of the end for Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, with permission granted to move them from Kerobokan jail to their execution place.

Momock Bambang Samiarso, head of Bali Provincial Prosecutors, said a meeting on Thursday afternoon confirmed the Bali Nine pair would be transferred to be executed outside of Bali.

A meeting on Friday will confirm the date of their transfer.

Prosecutors are trying to keep the transfer a secret, and the official avoided confirming the men would be taken to Nusakambangan, a prison island off central Java.

"We ask it to be as soon as possible," he said.

He also promised to give Chan, Sukumaran and their families the required 72 hours notice of their executions.

The meeting came after heartfelt pleas in parliament by Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek, and the Indonesian foreign minister's reiteration that the men be dealt the ultimate punishment.

In an at times emotional speech to federal parliament, Ms Bishop said the Sydney pair's attempt to smuggle more than 8kg of heroin out of Indonesia in 2005 was a grave crime that deserved punishment.

But they didn't deserve to pay with their lives.

"Both men are deeply, sincerely remorseful for their actions," the foreign minister said.

"Both men have made extraordinary efforts to rehabilitate."

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Ms Plibersek followed with an equally powerful argument against the pair's executions.

She reflected on her husband Michael Coutts-Trotter's drug conviction in Australia 30 years ago, and what a loss it would have been if he was punished with death.

"They would have missed out on a man who spent the rest of his life making amends for the crime that he committed," she said.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said she had received letters from both women, and phone calls from the minister.

Her replies were clear and consistent, she said.

"I have told Julie that this is not against a country, this is not against nationals of a certain country, but this is against a crime, against an extraordinary crime," she told reporters in Jakarta.

"We will keep on communicating, explaining, in consistent language like that."

While Indonesia and Australia keep trading views on the death penalty to no effect for Chan and Sukumaran, their families continue visiting their prison daily.

Artist Ben Quilty and Victorian Supreme Court Judge Lex Lasry joined them on Thursday.

Only President Joko Widodo can save the men from execution, but he gave a defiant vow this week not to succumb to outside pressure on the death penalty for drug felons.

In her statement, Ms Bishop said besides more than 55 ministerial and prime ministerial representations for the men, high-profile Australians had made "discreet overtures to their influential Indonesian contacts".

The Indonesian government says around 18,000 deaths annually are due to drugs, but the researchers who compiled the report have told AAP it was only ever intended to give a general picture of drug use.

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