Australia Recalls Ambassador After Indonesia Executes Convicted Drug Smugglers
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The Australian government recalled their Indonesian ambassador in response to a group execution of eight convicted drug smugglers Wednesday.
Australian citizens Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and the other prisoners were executed by firing squad in Besi prison on the island of Nusakambangan. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the executions of the “fully rehabilitated” men were “cruel and unnecessary,” but Indonesian President Joko Widodo seemed unfazed, telling reporters that “our legal sovereignty must be respected.”
Chan and Sukumaran along with the rest of the drug-smuggling gang known as the “Bali Nine” were arrested in 2005 after they attempted to transport 17.6 pounds of heroin from Bali to Australia. They were later tried and sentenced to death by a 12-man firing squad under Indonesia’s stringent drug laws.
Chan and Sukumaran’s lawyers requested the execution be postponed until the investigation into claims of corruption surrounding their original trial and sentencing could be conducted, but that request was denied.
Although Chan and Sukumaran underwent extensive rehabilitation during their 10-year incarceration, Indonesian President Widodo refused to grant them clemency because the country is in the midst of a “drug crisis.” However, one member of the “Bali Nine,” Filipina Mary Jane, was spared at the last moment for unknown reasons.
The prisoners were permitted to spend their final moments visiting with family before the sentence was carried out. After the fact, Australia withdrew its ambassador for consultations.
“These executions are both cruel and unnecessary,” Abbott said. “We respect Indonesia’s sovereignty but we do deplore what’s been done and this cannot be simply business as usual. For the reason, once all the courtesies have been extended to the Chan and Sukumaran families, our ambassador will be withdrawn for consultations.”