Eleventh hour vigil in Sydney for death row Australians

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Two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, are among convicts being held at the high-security prison in Indonesia, where they are expected to be put to death by firing squad in several hours.

Eleventh hour vigil in Sydney for death row Australians

Australia’s FM slams chaos ahead of Indonesia executions

/ Sydney (Australia) – 28 April 2015 18:29 – AFP

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop Tuesday criticised Indonesia’s “chaotic” handling of the execution of nine prisoners, including eight foreigners, saying there would be “consequences” if the killings were carried out.

Two Australians, “Bali Nine” drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, are among the convicts being held at the high-security prison island of Nusakambangan, where they are expected to be put to death by firing squad in several hours.

“I think the ghastly process that the family have been put through today just underscores how chaotic this has been,” Bishop told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“They do deserve respect and they do deserve to have dignity shown to them at this time of unspeakable grief. But that doesn’t seem to have been extended to them at this time.”

The families had to push through a huge scrum of journalists when they arrived at Cilacap, the town that serves as the gateway to Nusakambangan, to visit the two men. Sukumaran’s sister Brintha collapsed into the arms of family members who had to carry her.

Bishop said her government had made several requests to the Indonesian government, including asking for formal notifications on when the executions would take place, but had not received any response.

“They have not responded to any of our requests and there are a number of outstanding requests to which we have still not yet received a response,” the minister said.

She added that she was “very dismayed” and “deeply disturbed at some of the aspects of how this has been handled”.

Bishop said “there will be have to be consequences” if the two Australians were executed, but would not provide any details.

Australian media have speculated the government could recall its ambassador from Jakarta.

Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors from Indonesia after two of their citizens were executed in January along with four other drug offenders.

Bishop’s comments came as some 300 supporters of the Australian pair gathered at Martin Place in Sydney’s central business district on Tuesday night to hold a vigil.

Several people held signs calling for Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to show mercy to the drug smugglers.

In an emotional address to the crowd, Sukumaran’s cousin Andrew Rajeevan said the two men were grateful for the support from their home country.

“Over the last 10 years, I’ve seen Myu and Andrew become completely different people,” Rajeevan said of the decade the two men have spent behind bars on the Indonesian island of Bali since their arrests in 2005.

“They’ve been rehabilitated, so what’s the point in killing them? If anyone in Indonesia is listening, it’s still not too late.”

END

Tags : Australians, death, sydney, vigil, hour, Eleventh

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