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Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran Could Face Firing Squads as Early as Tuesday

Time appears to be running out for Australia's convicted drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia.
April 25, 2015, 1:35pm
Chan and Sukumaran. By Sophie Blackhall-Cain

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran may face execution as early as Tuesday, having received notifications on Saturday at Cilacap, in the southwest of Java. But while Indonesian law requires a minimum of 72 hours between notification and execution, no date has been set, meaning their status remains indefinite.

The announcement has revived condemnation from around the world, including France, Brazil, and the Philippines, each of which have nationals scheduled for execution alongside the Australian pair.


Australia's Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, said the government is still seeking clemency from Indonesian president Joko Widodo, citing strong evidence of rehabilitation. She also backed current legal action casting doubt over how such decisions are made.

"Legal challenges remain before the Constitutional Court and Judicial Commission, which raise fundamental questions about the integrity of their sentencing and the clemency process," she said.

In a statement made during war commemorations in Gallipoli, Prime Minister Tony Abbott indicated the likelihood of a reprieve was minimal, saying "I guess there's always hope while there's life but obviously these are late days."

Abbott and Widodo spoke on the matter in February with Abbott enraging many Indonesians by appearing to leverage aid donated by Australia following the the 2004 Tsunami. It is unclear how much the two leaders have spoken since then.

Brintha Sukumaran, sister of Myuran, pleads for mercy from the Indonesian government

The deaths of the pair, should they go ahead, will be seen by some as both a diplomatic failure as well as a police procedural one. It is now known that the Australian Federal Police were aware of Chan and Sukumaran's heroin smuggling plot before they and their Bali Nine cohorts left the country, choosing to hand them over to Indonesian authorities rather than charge them on home soil.

Others will question the motives behind Indonesia's steadfast refusal to commute the sentence in spite of pleas from heads of state, business leaders such as Richard Branson, as well as some of the president's heavy metal idols.

Earlier this year, the Widodo—popularly known as Jokowi—claimed Indonesia suffered 50 drug-related deaths a day and 4.5 million drug users needing rehabilitation, though these numbers have since been cast into doubt.

With the executions imminent but yet to be scheduled, there is little the families of Chan, Sukumaran, and the eight other drug felons also facing the firing squad can do but travel to the ancient prison island. There they will endure what could be their final meetings with their condemned loved ones.

To help seek clemency for Andrew and Myuran, sign this petition at