Friday 24 November 2017

Indonesia executes foreign drugs convicts

Australians Myuran Sukumaran (L) and Andrew Chan (R), the two ringleaders of the
Australians Myuran Sukumaran (L) and Andrew Chan (R), the two ringleaders of the "Bali Nine" drug ring, being escorted out of a court after their verdict in Denpasar on Bali island. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Jonathan Pearlman in Sydney

Indonesia defied the desperate pleas of grief-stricken families and executed seven foreign prisoners last night, including two Australians, who had been convicted for drug smuggling.

A 12-man firing squad carried out the sentence after the inmates had been given 72 hours' notice. During this time, their families were allowed five hours for farewells.

The death row prisoners, who also included an Indonesian, had been found guilty of drugs offences ranging from possession of 158lb of marijuana to smuggling heroin. Indonesia imposes the death penalty for all narcotics-related crimes and all received the same capital sentence - although a Filipina woman was spared at the last moment.

The two Australians were Myuran Sukumaran (34), and Andrew Chan (31), members of the so-called "Bali Nine" who were arrested 10 years ago. Earlier yesterday, their families made their last visit to Besi prison on the island of Nusakambangan.

"I won't see him again and they're going to take him at midnight and shoot him," said Sukumaran's mother, Raji. "He's not guilty and he's beautiful. He has a lot of compassion for other people. I'm asking the government not to kill him please. Mr President, please don't kill him today."

But this plea went unheeded and local media reported that Sukumaran was among those executed a few hours later.

Australia is to recall its ambassador to Indonesia following the execution of its two citizens.

Earlier, a dozen ambulances had arrived at the prison, nine of which were carrying coffins. A piece of paper displayed on the dashboard of one of the vehicles carried the name Mary Jane Veloso, the Filipina who was, in the event, spared execution.

Her mother, Celia, described this as a "miracle".

Four Nigerians and a Brazilian were also executed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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