Bali nine executions: Indonesian minister threatens to release 'human tsunami' of asylum seekers
Published: March 11, 2015 - 1:29AM
Indonesia could release 10,000 asylum seekers to Australia if Canberra continues to antagonise the republic over the execution of the Bali nine duo, an Indonesian minister has warned.
This would create a "human tsunami", according to the Coordinating Minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs, Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno.
The former Navy chief, who is a controversial political figure in Indonesia, said Australia was trying to pressure Indonesia into cancelling the executions by raising the issue of its $1 billion in Boxing Day tsunami aid and discouraging visitors to Bali.
He reminded Australia that Jakarta had been working hard to prevent asylum seekers attempting to travel to Australia in boats.
"If Canberra keeps doing things that displease Indonesia, Jakarta will surely let the illegal immigrants go to Australia," Mr Tedjo said on Metro TV.
"There are more than 10,000 [asylum seekers] in Indonesia today. If they are let go to Australia, it will be like a human tsunami."
Mr Tedjo has previously supported isolating the 10,500 refugees and asylum seekers on a remote island in Indonesia.
The chief security minister said it was "no big deal" if Australia stopped trading with Indonesia in the wake of the execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.
"We have calculated, in fact, Australia enjoys the surplus on the Indonesia-Australia trade," Mr Tedjo said.
"Australia will in fact receive pressure domestically if it stops its livestock exports to Indonesia since Indonesia is Australia's main market."
Mr Tedjo, who was delivering a speech on nationhood at the School of Law at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, said Australia needed to respect the Indonesian judicial system.
He said a prisoner swap, which was proposed by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop in a last-ditch attempt to save the lives of Chan and Sukumaran, was "unethical".
"We respect other countries' legal systems, Australia must learn about ethics here in University of Gadjah Mada," Mr Tedjo said.
Mr Tedjo recommended the appointment of graft suspect Budi Gunawan as national police chief and outraged many in January when he lashed out at supporters of the popular and widely trusted Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).
In December, Mr Tedjo also provoked anger when he suggested unresolved human rights cases were things of the past.
Views are divided on capital punishment within government ranks.
MP Prananda Surya Paloh, who is a member of the same party in the ruling coalition as Mr Tedjo, said the government should have seen the positive side of the Bali nine pair in jail, according to news website Okezone.com.
"With regard to the execution of Bali nine duo Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, I, Prananda Surya Paloh, would like to say that today is a very sad day with regard to humanity," he wrote on his website.
Mr Prananda, whose father is media mogul Surya Paloh, the chairman of Nasdem Party, tweeted that replacing the death penalty with another form of punishment was not a sign of weakness.
Meanwhile, Indonesian demonstrators took five bags of coins to the Australian embassy to 'repay' Australian aid after the 2004 tsunami and warned they would bring their government down if the Bali nine executions were cancelled.
The coins were not accepted by the embassy. Fairfax Media understands the police have been given the names of several charities to which the coins could be donated.
The noisy but small protest was part of the #coinforAustralia campaign that was launched after Tony Abbott asked Indonesia to reciprocate for the $1billion in aid money. The Prime Minister's comments caused widespread offence across Indonesia.
About 20 protesters, some of whom were from a Muslim students' organisation called PII, called on Tony Abbott "aka the big mouth" to apologise to the Indonesian people.
with Karuni Rompies
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