Australia calls for Indonesian mercy for death row inmates

AP News
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Posted: Jan 19, 2015 7:17 PM

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's prime minister said Tuesday he still held out hope that Indonesia would not execute two Australian drug traffickers on death row, saying mercy must play a part in the Indonesian justice system.

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were sentenced to death in 2006 for their leading roles in a plot to smuggle heroin from the Indonesian resort island of Bali to Australia.

Sukumaran's application for clemency has been rejected by Indonesian President Joko Widodo while Chan has yet to learn the fate of his application.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he had made strong representations on the Australians' behalf to the Indonesian president.

"I hope that the evidence of genuine remorse, of genuine rehabilitation, means that even at this late stage pleas for clemency might be accepted, because in the end mercy has to be a part of every justice system, including the Indonesian one," Abbott told Sydney Radio WSFM.

"I think that these two are well and truly reformed characters. I hope that the Indonesians will accept that, acknowledge it and act appropriately," Abbott added.

He declined to say if Australia could withdraw its ambassador to Indonesia in protest if the Australians are executed, as the Dutch and Brazilian governments have done in protest over their own nationals being killed by firing squad.

Indonesia announced it had executed six drug offenders from Brazil, the Netherlands, Malawi, Nigeria, Vietnam and Indonesia at the weekend.

Australia has abolished capital punishment.