This story has been updated.
Update, 6:02 p.m. EDT: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked Indonesia to halt its planned execution of members of the "Bali Nine." A statement attributed to Ban's spokesman called on government officials to heed "international law" that "if the death penalty is to be used at all, it should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, namely those involving intentional killing, and only with appropriate safeguards."
The Secretary-General appeals to the Government of Indonesia to refrain from carrying out the execution, as announced, of ten prisoners on death row for alleged drug-related crimes.
Under international law, if the death penalty is to be used at all, it should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, namely those involving intentional killing, and only with appropriate safeguards. Drug-related offenses generally are not considered to fall under the category of “most serious crimes”.
Recalling that the United Nations opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, the Secretary-General urges President Joko Widodo to urgently consider declaring a moratorium on capital punishment in Indonesia, with a view toward abolition.
Original article appears below.
Indonesia formally notified three members of the convicted heroin-smuggling group known as the "Bali Nine" Saturday their executions could take place in 72 hours although it did not set a specific date. By law, the government must give 72 hours' notice before carrying out executions.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, both Australian citizens, were notified, as was Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina, the BBC reported. In 2006, Chan and Sukumaran, named as leaders of the group, were sentenced to death by firing squad. Chan was 22 at the time; Sukumaran, 24.
Other members of the group include four Nigerian nationals, a French national, a Brazilian and an Indonesian. The French national's conviction is still being appealed while Chan's and Sukumaran's appeals for clemency have been rejected. The other members of the group are currently serving sentences in prison that range from 20 years to life.
"We want to send a strong message to drug smugglers that Indonesia is firm and serious in tackling the drug problem, and one of the consequences is execution if the court sentences them to death," Indonesian President Joko Widodo told Al Jazeera in March.
In a handwritten letter to the president in April, Veloso, pleaded for a pardon. "As a mother, I have two children who are still small and need the love of a mother very much whom they love in return," she wrote. "I sincerely pray to be saved from the death penalty and to be given the opportunity to bring up my children."
The so-called Bali Nine were arrested at Bali airport and at a hotel in April 2005 for trying to smuggle 18 pounds of heroin to Australia.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement Australian consular officials had been notified of the imminent executions, but the government would still seek clemency for Chan and Sukumaran, and questioned "the integrity of their sentencing and the clemency process," the Wall Street Journal reported.