APPEALS for clemency failed to save the lives of eight men
convicted as part of a drug-running group known as the Bali
Among the eight, executed by a firing squad on Tuesday, on the
Indonesian prison island of Nusa Kambangan, were two Australians:
Andrew Chan, and Myuran Sukumaran. Both had become Christians while
in prison, after their convictions for drug trafficking in
A regional bishop in Melbourne, the Rt Revd Philip Huggins, was
among those who pleaded with the Indonesian government to show
6 February). The "remarkable rehabilitation" facilitated by the
Indonesian authorities "further underscores the cruel folly of
execution", he said.
"The tragedy is taking those reformed, rehabilitated people who
are doing work that actually works in Indonesia's favour, and then
taking them out and executing them," Pastor Rob Buckingham, a
spiritual adviser to the two men, told ABC news after their
Mr Chan, who married his fiancée on the eve of his execution,
was ordained in prison. He had "effectively been leading the church
inside Kerobokan Prison now for a number of years", Mr Buckingham
"I think, for both of them, the strength of their faith came
shining through. They realised that they had done the wrong thing
in the past. They accepted the fact that they were caught and
incarcerated. They've both completely reformed their own lives, and
were working very strongly at reforming others."
A Filipina woman, Mary Jane Veloso, who was also among the Bali
Nine, wasd given an 11th-hour reprieve and not executed.
The RC Archbishop of Sydney, the Most Revd Anthony Fisher OP,
spoke on Wednesday of his joint appeal for clemency with the Grand
Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed.
"We made it clear that we respected Indonesia's sovereignty and
shared its condemnation of drug trafficking," Archbishop Fisher
said. "But refusing even to entertain appeals for mercy - even
after the pair had demonstrably turned their lives around - seemed
to us to damage our neighbour's reputation for justice."
The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, announced the recall
of the ambassador from Jakarta on Wednesday morning, describing the
executions as "cruel and unnecessary".
Reports have emerged that the eight men declined to be
blindfolded, and sang hymns, including "Amazing grace", before
"They were praising their God," Pastor de Vega, who was present
on the island, told Fairfax Media. "It was breathtaking. This was
the first time I witnessed someone so excited to meet their