Australia asks Indonesia for mercy for 2 death row prisoners

AP News
|
Posted: Feb 11, 2015 9:10 PM
Australia asks Indonesia for mercy for 2 death row prisoners

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia's foreign minister on Thursday called on the Indonesian government to show the same mercy to two Australian drug traffickers on death row as Indonesia seeks from countries where Indonesian citizens face execution.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop moved a motion in Parliament on Thursday calling for clemency for Australians Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31. The opposition party supported the motion, in a show of bipartisan support for saving the heroin smugglers.

Indonesia said last week it was preparing to execute by firing squad eight drug smugglers, including the two Australians.

Bishop said the Indonesian government was committed to seeking the release of more than 200 Indonesians currently facing execution overseas.

According to the Indonesian non-governmental organization Migrant Care, up to 360 Indonesians face the death penalty overseas, including about 230 on drug charges.

"We urge the Indonesian government to show the same mercy to Andrew and Myuran that it seeks for its citizens in the same situation abroad," Bishop told Parliament.

Australia has abolished capital punishment and opposes executions of any Australian overseas.

The two Australians were the ringleaders of a group of nine Australians who were arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms (18.3 pounds) of heroin to Australia from the Indonesian tourist island of Bali.

The group has been dubbed the "Bali Nine" by Australian media. All have been convicted of drug smuggling but only two were sentenced to death.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws. On Jan. 18, it executed six drug convicts including foreigners from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria, the Netherlands and Vietnam, brushing aside last-minute appeals by foreign leaders.

More than 130 people are on death row, including 57 drug convicts and two convicted terrorists.