News World Jakarta expresses sympathy to Bali Nine families

Jakarta expresses sympathy to Bali Nine families

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Indonesia’s ambassador to Australia has released a statement extending his government’s sympathies to the families and friends of executed Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

In the statement ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema acknowledged the strain the men’s death by firing squad at a central Java prison island this week had placed on relations between the countries.

Chan and Sukumaran were shot dead 10 years after being involved in a plot to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin from Bali into Australia.

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The Australian Government will withdraw its ambassador from Jakarta in protest at the executions, which were conducted early Tuesday morning despite an intense campaign for leniency.

“Indonesia understands the views expressed by the people and government of Australia on the law enforcement measures taken against the two Bali Nine drug smuggling ringleaders,” he said.

“The Indonesian people and government express our sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased.

“This is a difficult and challenging period for Australia-Indonesia relations.”

The statement also said that a good relationship with Australia was important to Indonesia and notes that the media must play a role in reporting that is “proportional and objective” as the two countries work to rebuild bilateral relations.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has said he will refuse to grant drug offenders clemency as part of his country’s “war” on drugs.

In a separate statement to the ABC, Trade Minister Andrew Robb said he was not anticipating any ramifications for trade and hoped a business mission to Indonesia could proceed in the future.

The bodies of Chan and Sukumaran, who were killed alongside six other men, are expected to be returned to Australia within the next two days.

Barrister Julian McMahon, who had been part of the legal team fighting for years to save the pair from the firing squad, said the men died in a way that supported others.

“The prisoners – and it was clearly with the leadership of Andrew and Myuran – conducted themselves in a wonderful way and there was quite a bit of singing … and they were all OK,” he said.

Mr McMahon spent the last few hours with the men and their families and said the guards at the Nusakambangan island prison had treated them well in their final weeks.

“I would really like it if the media made it clear that people like me and the families are very grateful,” he said.

“Despite all the horrible things that happened because of orders from above in terms of getting shot and so on, [at] the grassroots level, the people running that prison were professional, they were a credit to their country.”

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