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Australian Drug Smugglers Executed By Indonesian Police

A group of foreign prisoners, including Australia’s Bali Nine leaders, were executed by firing squad on the Nusakambangan prison island.

Originally posted on
Updated on

What We Know So Far

  • Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were killed at around 3.30 AEST on Wednesday morning.
  • Australia will withdraw its ambassador to Indonesia
  • Lawyer apologised: "I failed. I lost. I am sorry."
  • One prisoner, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, had execution stayed with more evidence to be heard.

Updates

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After 10 years on death row, Australian men Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by Indonesian authorities this morning for their role in a heroin smuggling syndicate.

The executions were greeted with shock, anger, and grief in Australia and Indonesia as friends, family, and supporters of the two men held out hope for a last-minute reprieve. Prime minister Tony Abbott acted swiftly this morning, condemning the executions and recalling Australia's ambassador to Indonesia.

This is how the day unfolded.

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Chan married his fiancée, Febyanti Herewila, when he had just one day left to live. The pair were married by a Salvation Army officer who was there to console the condemned prisoners, and the wedding was documented by Indonesian officials.

"It is a tough time but it is a happy time at the same time," Chan's brother Michael said of the wedding. "It was an enjoyable moment; they're married."

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The bill, backed by independent MP Cathy McGowan, would see any public official found guilty of disclosing information that "might" lead to an Australian receiving the death penalty overseas jailed for 15 years.

"We need to ensure by law that it doesn't happen again," Palmer said today in response to the execution of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

In 2005, the Bali Nine were arrested in Indonesia following a tip-off from the Australian Federal Police (AFP). The AFP has been heavily criticised for its role in the arrests and for not allowing the Australians to return to home soil before they were arrested.

The AFP's guidelines for such situations were changed in the wake of the Bali Nine arrests, and foreign minister Julie Bishop said this morning it is wrong to blame the AFP for the Australians' deaths.

"The involvement of the Australian Federal Police was reviewed a number of years ago and changes were made," she said. "We are satisfied that the changes that are in place were appropriate but I don't believe today is the time to look for recriminations," she said.

Oz agencies who cooperate with international law enforcement & risk #deathpenalty of Aussies must be held accountable http://t.co/fwxmDcwDh0

Australian families need to know that the Australian Federal Police won't put Australian citizens in this position again #auspoI

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The eight men executed on Bali's Nusakambangan Island overnight sang hymns and remained calm in the moments before their deaths.

Pastor Karina de Vega, who provided spiritual guidance for Brazilian man Rodrigo Gularte, witnessed the executions and told reporters the men died with dignity and all refused the offer of blindfolds.

"They were praising their god," Pastor de Vega said. "It was breathtaking. This was the first time I witnessed someone so excited to meet their god.

"They sang one song after another. Praising God. They sang a few songs together, like in a choir. The non-Christian I believe also sang from his heart. It was such an experience."

Outside the prison compound, the condemned men's families also sang as they lit candles for their loved ones.

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"The Australian Government deeply regrets the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran," it reads.

"The Government had hoped that Indonesia would show mercy to these young men, who have worked hard since their arrests to rehabilitate themselves and improve the lives of other prisoners.

"They committed a serious crime.

"Lengthy prison terms would have been an appropriate punishment.

"In jail, Andrew Chan brought comfort and hope to others and Myuran Sukumaran shared his skills to give prisoners the chance of a better life.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran's family and friends at this extremely difficult time.

"Australia respects Indonesia's sovereignty, but deeply regrets that Indonesia could not extend the mercy it so often seeks for its own citizens.

"We will withdraw our Ambassador for consultations once the men's bodies have been returned to the Chan and Sukumaran families.

"Ministerial visits will remain suspended."

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"Today we lost Myuran and Andrew," it reads. "Our sons, our brothers. In the ten years since they were arrested, they did all the 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 be forever grateful."

I have just lost a Courageous brother to a flawed Indonesian legal system. I miss you already RIP my Little Brother

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The ambulances made their way slowly through a throng of media and locals five hours after shots rang out on the island, indicating that the executions had been carried out.

A ninth ambulance, which would have carried the body of 30-year-old Mary Jane Veloso, was not needed after she was given an 11th-hour reprieve from authorities.

Australia has not yet been formally notified of the men's deaths, but foreign minister Julie Bishop said we must assume they have died after shots were heard ringing out from the island.

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"Australia deeply regrets these executions," Abbott said at a press conference in Canberra this morning. "They were cruel and unnecessary. Cruel because these men had spent over a decade in prison before their deaths. Unnecessary because both men had been rehabilitated in prison."

Foreign minister Julie Bishop said she was angry the men had been killed despite their rehabilitation.

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

Relations between Australia and Indonesia have reached crisis point.

"This is a very bad time. It's a very bad time," Abbott said. "Obviously for the Chan and Sukumaran families, and it's a difficult time for this relationship. It is a very important relationship nonetheless. All I want to say is that Australia has made the most strenuous possible representations on behalf of these men and we deeply regret that those representations have in no way been heeded."

Australia has never before withdrawn its ambassador to Indonesia in response to an execution.

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As Julie Bishop threatens "consequences" for the diplomatic relationship as a result of the execution, the hashtag #BoycottIndonesia is trending on Twitter.

Civilised countries do not execute people. My family will never holiday there now. #boycottindonesia #boycottbali

Time to #BoycottIndonesia I reckon. Unforgivable.

Will never go to Indonesia. Never ever. #BoycottIndonesia

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"Capital punishment must be abolished wherever in the world it is still carried out," she wrote.

"We in Australia must continue to advocate for an end to capital punishment and promote human rights around the world, especially in our region.

"The lives of these two Australians have been ended by firing squad at the direction of the Indonesian government. I condemn this act in the strongest possible terms."

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"Our best hopes have been dashed and our worst fears realised," Shorten said.

"It was a completely unacceptable for Indonesia to proceed as it did when critical legal processes were yet to run their course. ... Indonesia's actions demand a strong response from the Australian government.

"A decade ago, these two young men made a dreadful mistake. Yet today, they were made to pay for one stupid decision of ten years ago with their lives."

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Australian politicians started tweeting about the executions, including senior Labor figure Anthony Albanese.

RIP Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran - a tragic loss of human life on a very sad day

And Liberal National MP Steve Ciobo.

There are few greater displays of abuse of State power and regressive thinking than the death penalty. #RIP

There have also been more newspapers posting special front pages. Queensland's Courier Mail was especially evocative, picturing Indonesian president Joko Widodo with blood on his hands.

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Andrew Chan's brother Michael tweeted a tribute to his "Little Brother" who he said had been lost to "a flawed Indonesian legal system".

I have just lost a Courageous brother to a flawed Indonesian legal system. I miss you already RIP my Little Brother

Australians began to wake to the news of the deaths. Melbourne's Herald Sun was the first to post its special front page online.

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One of the lawyers for Sukumaran and Chan, Todung Mulya Lubis, tweeted an emotional apology for failing to win the men clemency.

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Local media is reporting that one of the prisoners, Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso from the Philippines, has been spared execution while another appeal is heard.

"Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso of the Philippines was spared after a woman who allegedly recruited her to act as a drug courier gave himself up to police in the Philippines on Tuesday," reported the Jakarta Post.

Veloso, aged 30, is a former housemaid who was arrested with 2.6kg of heroin at Adisucipto International airport in Yogyakarta in 2010.

Her family thanked those who had granted the appeal.

The family is ecstatic, dumbfounded, in tears. "Thank you, thank you, thank you"

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Australians Andrew Chan And Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad on Indonesia’s Nusakambangan Island shortly after midnight local time, according to the Jakarta Post.

Sukumaran, 34, and Chan, 31, the first two on the left, were sentenced to death in 2006 for their role as ringleaders of a drug syndicate that attempted to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin into Australia in 2005.

They died alongside other prisoners who had committed crimes ranging from drug offences to premeditated rape and murder.