Australia Urges Indonesia To Grant Mercy To Drug Smugglers On Death Row

January 23, 2015 – Prime Minister Tony Abbott today urged Indonesia to show mercy to two Australian drug convicts facing execution after their final appeals for clemency failed.

“Australia opposes the death penalty at home and abroad,” Mr Abbott said in a statement. “While Australia respects Indonesia’s sovereignty, we are asking that Indonesia reconsider its decision to execute two Australian citizens.”

Jakarta said last week that Mr Andrew Chan would be put to death with another Australian drug smuggler, Mr Myuran Sukumaran, as they had committed their crime together.

Mr Sukumaran’s clemency appeal was rejected last month, and Mr Chan’s was rejected Thursday. However, there was no immediate response from the Indonesian authorities as to when the pair might be executed.

Canberra had made representations at the highest levels with Jakarta, Mr Abbott said, adding that both he and Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop were “continuing to make every possible effort through the most effective channels to stop Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan being executed”.

Mr Abbott said they were both reformed characters who have helped to rehabilitate other prisoners. “The prerogative of mercy should be extended to them,” he said.

Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors from Indonesia and expressed fury Sunday after two of their citizens were put to death along with four other drug offenders. They were the first people executed under new President Joko Widodo, who has vowed no clemency for death-row drug convicts.

Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran were among a group of Australians, dubbed the “Bali Nine”, arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8kg of heroin out of the Indonesian island of Bali. Both men were sentenced to death in 2006, and sought presidential clemency after losing appeals to Indonesia’s Supreme Court in 2011. They are jailed in Bali’s Kerobokan prison.