Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Bali Nine Ringleaders Face Firing Squad Execution

(Reuters) - Nine drug traffickers held emotional farewell meetings with their families at an Indonesian prison on Tuesday, after Jakarta rejected last-ditch pleas from around the world for clemency and ordered their mass execution to proceed within hours.

"I won't see him again," said Raji Sukumaran, the mother of an Australian who will go before a firing squad along with a fellow countryman and convicts from Nigeria, Brazil, the Philippines and Indonesia.

21 PHOTOS
Bali Nine
See Gallery
Nine face midnight firing squad in Indonesia, hopes for reprieve gone
People hold up posters to show support for prisoners set to be executed as Human Rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC gives a moving address at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
People hold up posters of prisoners set to be executed as Human Rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC gives a moving address at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
Women in the assembled crowd look on mournfully as Geoffrey Robertson gives a moving address at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
People hold up posters of prisoners set to be executed as Human Rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC gives a moving address at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
A woman in the assembled crowd looks on at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
A man holds up a poster of Myuran Sukumaran at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
A woman lights a candle at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
A general view is seen at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
A woman in the assembled crowd looks on at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
People display their despair as Human Rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC gives a moving address at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Don Arnold/Getty Images)
A woman lights a candle for the prisoners to be executed in Indonesia, during a vigil at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
A woman places a candle on top of pictures of the prisoners to be executed in Indonesia, during a vigil at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
A woman places a candle on top of a picture of Australian Andrew Chan, one of one of the prisoners to be executed in Indonesia, during a vigil at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
A woman holds a picture of one of the prisoners to be executed in Indonesia during a vigil at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
Chinthu Sukumaran (L), and Michael Chan (R), the brothers of Australian death row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, carry a self-portrait painting of Myuran Sukumaran as he speak to journalists at Wijaya Pura port after visiting their brothers at Nusakambangan prison ahead of the executions of the Bali 9 on April 28, 2015 in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia. Condemned Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been given 72 hours execution notice. The execution could be held as soon as midnight on Tuesday on Nusukamban Island where they have been held, awaiting there fate since March 4th, 2015. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
People hold placards in support of the prisoners to be executed in Indonesia during a vigil at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
A man lights candles during a vigil at Martin Place on April 28, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Supporters of Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran held a vigil tonight as the pair prepare to face the firing squad this evening at Indonesia's Nusakambangan Island. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Daniel Munoz/Getty Images)
Brintha Sukumaran (C), a sister of Australian death row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran's screams as she arrives at Wijaya Pura port to visit her brother at Nusakambangan prison ahead of the executions of the Bali 9 on April 28, 2015 in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia. Condemned Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been given 72 hours execution notice. The execution could be held as soon as Tuesday midnight on Nusukamban Island where they have been held, awaiting there fate since March 4th, 2015. Chan and Sukumaran were both sentenced to death after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin valued at around $4 million from Indonesia to Australia along with 7 other accomplices. (Photo by Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images)
Lawyers Julian McMahon (L) and Veronica Haccou (R) display three self-portrait paintings made by Australian death row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran in Cilacap after visiting Nusakambangan maximum security prison island located off central Java on April 25, 2015. The Australian government on April 25 said it has been told by Indonesia that the execution of 'Bali Nine' drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan was 'imminent'. AFP PHOTO / AZKA (Photo credit should read AZKA/AFP/Getty Images)
This picture taken on January 29, 2015 shows people holding candles during a vigil for 'Bali Nine' death row inmates Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in Sydney. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on February 5, 2015 that he had done all he could to save the lives of two of his citizens facing imminent execution in Indonesia, as their lawyers admitted the situation was 'bleak'. AFP PHOTO / Saeed Khan (Photo credit should read SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

"They're going to take him at midnight and shoot him. I'm asking the government not to kill him. Please don't kill him today," she told reporters, weeping as she spoke.

Hundreds of people began gathering in cities across Australia for vigils for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, holding placards and calling for Australia to respond strongly to its neighbor if the executions proceed.

The death penalties have been condemned by the United Nations, and strained ties between Australia and Indonesia.

Security at the high-security prison on an island off the Central Java coast was heightened on Tuesday. Religious counselors, doctors and the firing squad were alerted to start final preparations for the execution, and a dozen ambulances, some carrying white satin-covered coffins, were seen arriving.

Amid chaotic scenes outside the jail, a member of one of the Australian's family collapsed and was carried through the crowd.

"I saw today something that no other family should ever have to go through. Nine families inside a prison saying goodbye to their loved ones," said Chan's brother, Michael. "It's torture."

TWELVE MARKSMEN FOR EACH PRISONER

Indonesian authorities have declined to specify a time for the executions, which are due to take place at a nearby clearing in a forest, but the last time a group of drug traffickers were executed earlier this year it was carried out at midnight.

The prisoners will be given the choice to stand, kneel or sit before the firing squad, and to be blindfolded. Their hands and feet will be tied.

Twelve marksmen are assigned to fire at the heart of each prisoner, but only three have live ammunition. Authorities say this is so that the executioner remains unidentified.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said on Tuesday that he had made one last appeal to the Indonesian government to spare a Filipina among the nine, arguing that she could be a vital witness in prosecuting drug syndicates.

"She does present an opportunity right now to be able to uncover all the participants and start the process of bringing them to the bars of justice," Aquino told reporters in Malaysia, where he was attending a meeting of Southeast Asian leaders.

Mary Jane Veloso, a mother of two, was arrested in 2010 after she arrived in Indonesiawith 2.6 kg of heroin hidden in her suitcase.

Veloso's lawyers filed a human trafficking complaint recently against another Filipina, Maria Cristina Sergio, who they allege promised the death-row inmate a job as a domestic worker in Indonesia but instead led her to become a drug mule.

Sergio voluntarily surrendered to police in the Philippines on Tuesday, seeking protection after receiving death threats via her social media accounts and mobile phone.

"I'd say it's a changing alibi," Indonesia's attorney-general, H.M. Prasetyo, told reporters.

"Now she says she's a victim of human trafficking. I think these are just efforts to delay the execution. We have given her all legal avenues. Don't force us to change. If we're not firm, it means we're weak in the war against drugs."

Filipino boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao, who is in the United States for a title fight, made a televised appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo on behalf of his countrywoman, Veloso: "I am begging and knocking on your kind heart that your excellency will grant executive clemency to her."

AUSTRALIA: "THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES"

Authorities on Monday granted Australian Chan's last wish, which was to marry his Indonesian girlfriend at the prison.

But they rebuffed last-minute appeals from Australia to save the lives of Sukumaran and Chan, who were arrested in 2005 as the ringleaders of a plot to smuggle heroin out ofIndonesia.

The pending executions have strained Indonesia's relations with Australia, Nigeria andBrazil, which will likely worsen after the death sentences are carried out.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told ABC television: "Should these executions proceed in the manner that I anticipate, of course, there will have to be consequences."

Australia-Indonesia relations have been tested in recent years by disputes over people smuggling and spying. In late 2013 Indonesia recalled its envoy and froze military and intelligence cooperation over reports that Canberra had spied on top Indonesian officials, including the former president's wife.

Indonesia has harsh punishments for drug crimes and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap. Six have been executed so far this year.

Widodo's steadfastness on the executions, which has strong public support at home, stands in contrast to a series of policy flip-flops since he took office six months ago. Palace insiders and government officials portray him as sometimes out of his depth and struggling to get around entrenched vested interests.

(Additional reporting by Fergus Jensen, Gayatri Suroyo and Randy Fabi in Jakarta and by Jane Wardell in Sydney; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

More on AOL.com:
Baltimore mom was not happy with son's involvement in riots
Vatican getting increasingly political on climate change
Woman shocked to receive anti-Christ license plate

Read Full Story

People are Reading