Australia To Recall Envoy To Indonesia Over Execution Of 'Bali 9' Pair
Updated at 8:22 p.m. ET
Australia is withdrawing its ambassador from Jakarta following Indonesia's execution of two Australians convicted of drug smuggling.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott, at a news conference today, called the executions of Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, two of the so-called Bali 9, "cruel" and "unnecessary." He called it a "dark moment" in the relationship between Australia and Indonesia.
"We do deplore what's been done and this cannot be simply business as usual," he said. "For that reason, once all the courtesies have been extended to the Chan and Sukumaran families, our ambassador will be withdrawn for consultations.
"I want to stress that this is a very important relationship between Australia and Indonesia but it has suffered as a result of what's been done over the last few hours."
The Australian Broadcasting Corp. said it's the first time Australia has taken such a step when its citizens have been executed. The country does not have the death penalty.
Speaking alongside Abbott, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed the men had been executed by firing squad.
Sukumaran and Chan were the ringleaders of the group that was caught trying to smuggle heroin out of Bali in 2005. Their case attracted wide attention, in part because the pair have reportedly reformed themselves in the nearly 10 years since their arrest. A statement by the two families, cited by ABC, said:
"In the 10 years since they were arrested, they did all they could to make amends, helping many others. They asked for mercy, but there was none. They were immensely grateful for all the support they received. We too, will be forever grateful."
Indonesia executed eight of the nine people convicted in the case. Filipina Mary Jane Veloso was spared at the last moment; the mother of two had claimed she had been forced into being a drug courier by a human trafficker. Her alleged recruiter turned herself in Tuesday morning.
The families of the convicted drug smugglers held farewell meetings with them today. Three of them were from Nigeria, and one each from Brazil, Ghana and Indonesia.
The Jakarta Post newspaper quoted Suhendro Putro, funeral director with the Javanese Christian Church in Cilacap, as saying the executions were carried out at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday local time.
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