Australians Andrew Chan (wearing glasses) and Myuran Sukumaran,
Australians Andrew Chan (wearing glasses) and Myuran Sukumaran, Afp

Bali Nine executions cruel and unnecessary, says Abbott

IN the aftermath of two Australians being executed by the Indonesian Government in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has described their deaths as "cruel and unnecessary".

Convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were among eight criminals killed by firing squad on the Indonesian prison island of Nusakambangan.

Their deaths at the hands of Indonesia has already drawn widespread condemnation.

BALI NINE: Special Coverage

Mr Abbott and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop fronted a press conference this morning to cautiously add their own voices to that criticism.

The Prime Minister carefully spelled out that there would be no significant consequences to Australia's relationship with Indonesia in light of the executions, aside from Australia withdrawing its ambassador from its northern neighbour.

NEW POLL ON THE DEATH PENALTY

 

What stance should Australia take on the death penalty?

This poll ended on 09 May 2015.

Current Results

We should join the EU and oppose all forms of the death penalty

51%

We should oppose the death penalty for drug trafficking

8%

We should oppose the death penalty for rehabilitated prisoners

11%

The death penalty should remain for drug traffickers in Indonesia

28%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

 

He said he "absolutely understood" why Australians were angry.

"Yes, the drug trade is evil and these two committed a serious crime," he said.

"But particularly given the last 10 years and the very thorough rehabilitation and reform that these two demonstrated, it is, as I said, cruel and unnecessary what has taken place."
 

Brintha Sukumaran, the sister of Myuran Sukumaran, cries during her final visit to see him in prison on 28 April
Brintha Sukumaran, the sister of Myuran Sukumaran, cries during her final visit to see him in prison on 28 April

 

Ms Bishop said the government was yet to receive formal confirmation of the executions, but understood that they had occurred.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Chan and Sukumaran families and their friends," she said.

"They are in a devastating position."

What's your reaction to the execution?

This poll ended on 06 May 2015.

Current Results

I'm outraged and completely oppose the death penalty.

19%

These guys were reformed, they shouldn't have been killed.

31%

They knew the risks and must deal with the consequences.

31%

Heroin kills. I have no sympathy for them.

17%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

 

The mother of Bali Nine inmate Michael Czugaj -- who was caught in Indonesia alongside Chan and Sukumaran with 1.75kg of heroin -- told of her heartbreak over the executions.

Czugaj is serving a life sentence in Kerobakan Prison.

She told Queensland radio station MixFM she felt "numb" from the news, and was attempting to reach her son.

Ms Czugaj said she was still angry at Australian Federal Police who tipped off Indonesian authorities rather than capturing them before they left.

"They should never have been put into that situation.

They should not have been caught up in it in Bali."

Listen to the full interview below:


Ms Bishop said it was frustrating that the executed Australians had turned their lives around, but that was ignored by Indonesian authorities.

"Our concern centres on the fact that the apparent rehabilitation of Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran was not taken into account.

"Rehabilitation is a fundamental aspect of successful prison systems.

"Mr Chan became an ordained Christian priest, Mr Sukumaran became a renowned artist.

"Both were spending their time in jail helping to reform and improve the lives of other prisoners in the Indonesian prison system.

"They were examples of the hope and transformation that can come about through reflection, rehabilitation and remorse."


Mr Abbott described the deaths as a "dark moment in the relationship" between him and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

"I am confident that the relationship will be restored for the great benefit of both our countries."

The remains of both men are to be brought to Australia with the help of consular staff.

 

 

WEDNESDAY, 4.30AM: Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran executed

CONVICTED Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been executed by an Indonesian firing squad just after 3am AEST.

They were shot on Nusakambangan prison island near Cilacap in Central Java.

Chan and Sukumaran were among eight drug offenders who paid the ultimate price for their crimes.

There is yet to be an official verification of the deaths, but the Jakarta Post has quoted sources who say the executions "went well, without any disruptions".

"We've carried out the executions," said an Attorney General's Office (AGO) official, talking to the press on condition of anonymity."

The bodies of Chan and Sukumaran would now be flown to Australia for burial.

The Post described the Indonesian Government as "defying intense pressure from the international community".

Their lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis tweeted his heartbreak over their deaths.

 

 

A ninth offender -- mother-of-two Mary Jane Veloso -- has been spared after a woman confessed to police that she had tricked Veloso into becoming a drug mule.

Amnesty International released a statement giving an insight into the process of killing the convicted.

"They are due to be shot by human beings.

"A group of special police officers will tie each prisoner to a post in dark nightfall, just before midnight.

"A colleague will shine a torch onto the prisoner's heart. Another group of police officers will line up and fire at the target.

"Only some of the officers will have live ammunition, others will fire blanks so that they don't have to face the moral consequence of guilt and blame, of knowing who fired the fatal shots"
 

Chan and Sukumaran were convicted in 2006 as part of the "Bali Nine" drug smuggling gang who were arrested on the island for trying to smuggle 8kg of heroin to Australia.

Their six Australian co-conspirators were jailed for between 18 years and life in Indonesia but Sukumaran, then 23, and Chan, 21, were given harsher sentences as the alleged ringleaders.

After being monitored by Indonesian police, who were handed information from the Australian Federal Police, all nine were arrested as the smuggling operation started.

Chan was removed from a plane bound for Australia at Bali's airport, and was believed to be the person who would collect the heroin in Australia.
 


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