World Bulletin / News Desk
Australia's prime minister has repeated calls for clemency to be shown to two Australians facing the death penalty in Indonesia, where six drug offenders were killed by firing squads over the weekend.
"My job is to try and stop the executions going ahead," Tony Abbott told the Australian Radio Network on Tuesday, stressing that Myuran Sukamaran and Andrew Chan – the alleged leaders of the Bali Nine drug smuggling ring – were remorseful and had been rehabilitated.
Last week, Abbott wrote a plea to Indonesian President Joko Widodo asking for clemency for Sukamaran – whose appeal has already been denied -- and Chan.
On Sunday, five foreigners and an Indonesian were executed despite international pleas for a last minute reprieve, leading to Brazil and the Netherlands recalling their ambassadors from Jakarta.
Abbott refused to speculate Tuesday on whether Australia might recall its ambassador in the case of the executions being carried out.
"I don't want to pre-empt what may or may not happen afterwards, but I think these two are well and truly reformed characters and I hope the Indonesians will accept that, acknowledge it,” he said.
"Because in the end, mercy has to be a part of every justice system, including the Indonesian one."
On Monday, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said her requests for mercy had been rebuffed by her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi.
"I received a response just recently rejecting our representations on the basis that Indonesia claims it is facing a crisis in terms of drug trafficking and it believes that the death penalty should apply," Bishop told Sky News.
"I don't believe that executing people is the answer to solving the drug problem and certainly the trafficking of drugs in and out of Indonesia," she added.
Arrmanatha Nasir, Indonesia’s foreign ministry spokesperson, has expressed hopes that Australia would not recall its ambassador in the case of Sukamaran and Chan’s execution, The Age reported.
Todung Mulya Lubis, Sukumaran’s Indonesian attorney, has confirmed to Fairfax Media that he will request another judicial review of the case in the coming days.
The Bali Nine refers to a group of Australians arrested in April 2005 in Bali’s capital Denpasar for allegedly planning to smuggle 18 pounds (8.3 kg) of heroin worth around AUS$4 million (more than $3.2 million) from Indonesia to Australia.
Among the nine convicted - all of whom were aged between 18 and 28 at the time of their arrests - seven were sentenced to life in prison and two to death by firing squad.
During their time at Bali’s Kerobokan Prison, Sukumaran led a campaign for art and computer classes, while Chan manages church services. Both also mentor inmates from diverse backgrounds, according to The Age.
Sunday’s executions were the first in Indonesia since Widodo came to power Oct. 20, 2014. Last month, he said he would refuse clemency for 64 drugs offenders facing execution, citing the harm caused to Indonesian society by illegal narcotics.