Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the two leaders of the “Bali Nine” drug gang, will be sent to execution. This decision has been made in spite of many appeals made by their lawyers, the Australian government and various human rights organizations.
The two members have been moved from Bali’s Kerobokan jail to the Nusakambangan Island where the executions will take place. Before their transfer, Chan’s brother Michael and Sukumaran’s mother Raji tried to make a last visit to see his brother but they were denied access on the account that “today is not visiting day”.
The two men were escorted by a rather high number of security agents. There were about 200 police officers, 50 soldiers and a water cannon outside the Bali prison, all of them ready to escort the two. The security measures taken can be explained by that fact the level of media interest in this case is unpreceded.
The execution date has not been stated yet but authorities usually announce it 72 hours before it takes place.
The two men were part of a larger group consisting of eight men and one woman who were caught in 2006 trying to smuggle 8.3kg (18lb) of heroin from Bali to Australia. The court decided that Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were the ones who recruited the others and were given the death penalty. The other seven members were given sentences between 20 years and life.
The lawyers representing Chan and Sukumaran have made countless appeals against their sentences on the basis that the two detainees were rehabilitated characters: Chan was teaching Bible course and cookery in prison while Sukumaran developed artistic interests. Their relatives and various human rights activists have also pleaded for revoking the sentence.
Indonesian authorities could not be convinced. Indonesia is one of the most rigorous countries when it comes to illegal drug activities. President Joko Widodo made his opinion very clear by saying that drug trade activities have a disastrous influence on the people who live in Indonesia and that authorities show no mercy when it comes to drug smugglers.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the event made Australians feel “sick in their stomachs” and was appalled by the sentence given to the two Australians. He agreed that the two had made some serious mistakes but added that “we abhor the death penalty, which we think is beneath a country such as Indonesia.”
Image Source: SBS