News World Mercy denied in cruel penalty

Mercy denied in cruel penalty

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Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have been executed by firing squad in Indonesia, prompting Australia to recall its ambassador from Jakarta in protest.

Convicted drug traffickers Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 34, were shot dead along on the prison island of Nusakambangan just before 3:30am AEST.

• Indonesia executes Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran 
Bishop warns Indonesia of consequences
Chan, Sulkumaran’s final hours
Heartbroken families say their last goodbyes

Six other death row prisoners were also shot, but there was a shock last-minute reprieve for Filipina drug mule Jane Fiesta Veloso, who had also been scheduled to die.

This morning Prime Minister Tony Abbott saidAustralia was withdrawing its ambassador from Jakarta in the wake of the “cruel and unnecessary” executions.

In a brief statement, the families of the two men said: “Today we lost Myuran and Andrew. Our sons, our brothers”.

“In the 10 years since they were arrested, they did all they 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.”

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed the deaths of the Australians, saying gunfire had been heard from Nusakambangan during the night.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I confirm, despite our ongoing efforts right up until the last minute, to seek a stay of execution, our Australian citizens Mr Andrew Chan and Mr Myuran Sukumaran were put to death early this morning,” she said.

The bodies of the two men have now been handed over to Australian authorities in the port of Cilacap. They are expected to be returned to Australia for burial.

Lawyer: ‘The boys died well’

Earlier Mulya Lubis, a member of the pair’s legal team, tweeted: “I failed. I lost. I am sorry”.

Another lawyer for the pair, Australian Peter Morrissey, told ABC News Breakfast: “The two boys died well. They made their preparations, they were dignified. They’re strong against the death penalty, they were supportive of their families”.

“They tasted how awful this would be … they knew what it was like to be tied to the post. They were very worried about it and yet at the end they’ve come through as really remarkable, lovely blokes.”

Men ‘faced firing squad alone’

Indonesia correspondent George Roberts has told AM that it is believed the two men faced the firing squad alone, without spiritual guidance.

“They had initially not allowed them to have their nominated pastors with them over there on the island for last-minute consolation. But we understand that a short time beforehand they were allowed to have those pastors over there,” he said.

[But] when it came to the actual execution itself we understand that nobody was there to witness that, although normally the nominated religious clerics are there to witness the death penalty being carried out and actually give the last rites to the people who are facing the firing squad.

“We understand that didn’t happen in the final moments as far as I’m aware. The two men were on their own.”

Chan and Sukumaran, members of the so-called Bali Nine, were sentenced to death in 2006 after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin into Australia.

They were refused clemency by Indonesian president Joko Widodo as part of a hardline stance on the death penalty for convicted drug criminals.

They were shot dead despite an emotional final plea for clemency from the Chan and Sukumaran families only hours before the execution.

There was also a last-ditch plea for mercy from the governments of Australia, France and the European Union, who jointly petitioned Indonesia to declare a moratorium on capital punishment.

“We fully respect the sovereignty of Indonesia. But we are against the death penalty in our country and abroad. The execution will not give deterrent effect to drug trafficking or stop the other from becoming victims will abuse drugs. To execute these prisoners now will not achieve anything,” they said in a statement.

Last night Michael Chan said both his brother and Sukumaran had been “dignified” ahead of the executions, which he said amounted to “cruel, undignified torture”.

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