Military aircraft to fly convicts to C. Java
Ni Komang Erviani and Nani Afrida
The Jakarta Post
Bali Prosecutor's Office chief Momock Bambang Samiarso has confirmed media reports that the two Australians convicted of drug trafficking will be flown by military aircraft to Nusakambangan prison island in Central Java, where they will face the firing squad in the near future.
His announcement was a follow-up to a statement by Maj. Gen. Torry Djohar Banguntoro of the Udayana Regional Military Command (Kodam IX), covering Bali and East and West Nusa Tenggara, on Monday. Torry said that the Indonesian Military would deploy a squadron of Sukhoi jet fighters to escort the transfer of the two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, from Kerobokan prison in Denpasar to Nusakambangan.
'Yes, it has already been decided,' Momock said on Tuesday, without specifying what type of aircraft would be used in the operation.
Three Sukhoi jet fighters arrived in Bali from Sultan Hasanuddin Air Force base in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on Monday. The aircraft have been parked at the air base at Ngurah Rai International Airport. Colibri-type helicopters and CN-295 aircraft have also been seen at the air base.
The Air Force, however, has denied that the jet fighters are there to safeguard the transfer of the two convicts. A spokesman has described the arrival of the planes as a coincidence.
'We haven't received any order to escort the death-row prisoners. The jet fighters are in Bali for a joint exercise with Air Force personnel at the Ngurah Rai Air Force base,' Air Force spokesman Air Commodore Hadi Tjahjanto said on Tuesday.
He insisted that the jet fighters were also conducting routine patrols securing Indonesia's air territory and its borders.
'We're also conducting the same patrols and exercises at Tarakan, Biak and Medan. These are routine patrols,' Hadi said.
However, Hadi added that the Air Force would always be ready if the government ordered them to secure the transfer.
'No matter what happens, we are always ready,' he said.
Eleven death-row convicts, including Chan and Sukumaran, are scheduled to be executed in Nusakambangan despite a global outcry.
Meanwhile, National Commission on Human Rights commissioner Natalius Pigai visited the two prisoners at Kerobokan prison.
He praised the contribution of the two Australians in teaching skills to other inmates.
'My conclusion is they are good mentors and have made a big contribution, especially to our people ['¦] They have transferred their skills to thousands of prisoners since 2008,' Pigai said.
Chan and Sukumaran, members of the so-called Bali Nine gang of Australian drug smugglers, were arrested when they attempted to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin from Indonesia to Australia seven years ago.
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