Venkat Raman –
Amidst widespread protests and appeals echoed throughout the world, the Indonesian authorities executed Andrew Chan (31) and Myuran Sukumaran (34) in the early hours of Wednesday, April 29, 2015 (530 am New Zealand Time) as we were at printers with this issue.
They were among six others shot dead by a firing squad on the prison island of Nusakambangan to which they were taken about two months ago.
Chan and Sukumaran were arrested in 2005 and a year later, an Indonesian Court sentenced them to death by a firing squad.
The executions ended ten years of speculation that they could be spared since appeals for clemency were sent from various parts of the world. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot had offered to exchange three Indonesian convicts held in his country’s prisons for the two Australian men.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who came to power last year on the promise of cleaning his country of corruption and drugs, rejected the offer. He also refused to relent to calls for mercy.
Mr Widodo’s decision appeared to have had backlash.
Soon after the announcement of the execution of the two Australians, Mr Abbott recalled his Ambassador to Jakarta in protest.
He said that he was withdrawing the diplomat “in the wake of cruel and unnecessary executions. Today we lost Myuran and Andrew, our sons, our brothers,” he said.
“In the ten years since they were arrested, they did all they could to make amends, helping many others. They asked for mercy but there was none. They were immensely grateful for all the support they received. We too, will forever be grateful,” Mr Abbott said.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran
Picture courtesy: news.com.au