The devastated families of Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are beginning to speak of their enormous grief after the two men were executed by Indonesia.
The anger felt by Andrew’s brother, Michael Chan, was on raw display.
“I have just lost a courageous brother to a flawed Indonesian legal system. I miss you already RIP my Little Brother,” he tweeted.
Later on Wednesday morning, the men’s families issued the following statement:
“Today we lost Myuran and Andrew. Our sons, our brothers. In the ten years since they were arrested, they did what 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.”
Indonesian media reported the death of the Australians in the early hours of Wednesday morning, quoting sources from the office of the country’s Attorney-General.
Australian media were largely still in the dark over the execution, with official confirmation of the deaths not immediately forthcoming.
One of Chan and Sukumaran’s Indonesian lawyers was among the first to express his dismay at the outcome.
I failed. I lost.
— Todung Mulya Lubis (@TodungLubis) April 28, 2015
I am sorry — Todung Mulya Lubis (@TodungLubis) April 28, 2015
Prime Minister Tony Abbott gave a statement in Canberra on Wednesday morning, where he confirmed Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia would be “withdrawn for consultations”.
These executions are both cruel and unnecessary. Cruel because both Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran spent some decade in jail before being executed. Unnecessary before both of these young Australians were both fully rehabilitated while in prison.
Australia respects the Indonesia system, we respect Indonesian sovereignty, but we do deplore what’s been done. This cannot be simply business as usual. For that reason, once all the courtesies are extended to the Chan and Sukumaran families, our ambassador will be withdrawn for consultations.
I want to stress that this is a very important relationship between Australia and Indonesia, but it has suffered as a result of what’s been done over the last few hours. Whatever people think of the death penalty, whatever people think of drug crime, the fact is that these two families have suffered an appalling tragedy.
This is a very bad time. It’s a very bad time obviously for the Chan and Sukumaran families and it’s a difficult time for this relationship. It is a very, very important relationship nonetheless and I don’t want to make a difficult situation worse by offering gratuitous reflections on different aspects of the way this matter has been handled in recent days and weeks.
It is very unusual, indeed unprecedented for an ambassador to be withdrawn. I don’t want to minimise the gravity of what we’ve done. Ministerial contacts had been suspended for some time once it was apparent the executions were likely.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop joined the prime minister in her condemnation of the executions, saying the Australian prisoners had been transformed and rehabilitated.
Our concern centres on the fact that the apparent rehabilitation of Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran was not taken into account. Rehabilitation is a fundamental aspect of a successful prison system.
Mr Chan became an ordained Christian priest, Mr Sukumaran became a renowned artist, both spending time in jail helping to reform and improve the lives of prisoners in the Indonesian prison system.
They were examples of the hope and transformation that can come about through reflection, rehabilitation and remorse.
We have continued to make representations but our pleas in relation to rehabilitation were apparently not taken into account.
The federal leaders of the ALP issued a strong statement in the wake of the deaths, harshly criticising Indonesia for its decision to proceed with the executions.
Labor condemns the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in the strongest possible terms. We extend our heartfelt condolences to all who mourn the loss of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
It was completely unacceptable for Indonesia to proceed as it did when critical legal processes were yet to run their course, raising serious questions about Indonesia’s commitment to the rule of law.
Indonesia’s actions demand a strong response from the Australian government.
A statement from Amnesty international, released following the executions, labelled the state-sanctioned killings “cruel, senseless and abhorrent”.
We stand in solidarity with the families of all those who were brutally executed in this senseless, tragic and wasteful act of state-sanctioned murder.
Despite promising steps away from the death penalty prior to 2013 and four years without any executions, Indonesia’s resumption of this cruel and inhuman punishment has put them well out of step with the rest of the world.
Greens leader Christine Milne said it was a “tragedy” Chan and Mukumaran were denied “their own second chance”.
Myuran and Andrew will be remembered for overcoming their past to live meaningful lives, even from prison, not just for the way they died.
Their actions over the past ten years were a testament to their remorse and have given many of their fellow prisoners an opportunity to live better lives.
Capital punishment must be abolished wherever in the world it is still carried out.
Lives lost. Nothing gained. #IStandForMercy
— Tony Burke (@Tony_Burke) April 28, 2015
RIP Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran – a tragic loss of human life on a very sad day — Anthony Albanese (@AlboMP) April 28, 2015
Human rights lawyer Julian McMahon spoke on Sky News, saying the killing of the Australians was “sad and confronting”.
They inspired a lot of people. Their journey was an amazing one. They were very strong people. They’d been through the ringer emotionally. They died well. They showed how you can die.
To impose the death penalty for this crime, a partly unsuccessful attempt to drug export, it’s just astounding. It knocks your socks off. It’s wrong and it’s bad.
I’m saying it’s illegal and I’m saying it’s certainty illegal under international law.
The boys were very keen to make it clear they didn’t want some anti-Indonesia thing developing here.
Single act of mercy
Philippines woman Mary Jane Veloso, who was due to face an Indonesian firing squad alongside Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, was not executed
She was spared after someone suspected of recruiting her and tricking her into carrying drugs to Indonesia turned themselves in to authorities in the Philippines, a text message from Indonesian attorney-general spokesman Tony Spontana confirmed to the ABC.
The message said the stay of execution was the result of a request by the Philippines president, and that Veloso would be required to give testimony at the trial of the alleged drug trafficker.
The reprieve does not mean she will not be executed at a future date.
Veloso’s mother told Philippine radio on Wednesday: “Miracles do come true”.
“We are so happy, I can’t believe it. I can’t believe my child will live,” Celia Veloso told Philippine radio station DZMM.