Bali Nine: Australian PM Says Tsunami Relief Contribution Is A ‘Reminder’ To Indonesia

By @snksounak on
RTR4OTHS
Raji Sukumaran, the mother of Australian Myuran Sukumaran, who is on death row, reacts while making a plea for the lives of her son and Andrew Chan during a news conference at a hotel in Jakarta February 9, 2015. Two Australian members of the "Bali Nine" drug trafficking ring, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, arrested in Bali in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8 kg (18 lb) of heroin to Australia, will be executed this month, a government official said on Friday, ignoring clemency pleas from their home country. Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan are among eight prisoners due to be executed as President Joko Widodo pursues a hardline approach to drug offences, drawing criticism from rights activists at home and abroad. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

Tony Abbott denied that he had threatened Indonesia by referring to Australia’s tsunami relief contribution to the Asian country. He said that it was merely a “reminder.”

Abbott earlier asked Indonesia to remember how Australia had helped it with tsunami relief contribution. He apparently wanted Indonesia to consider its diplomatic relation with Australia so that Bali Nine convicts, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, could be granted clemency. Abbott said that he expected Indonesia to reciprocate, but Indonesian foreign ministry considered it to be a threatening.

Abbott said that he was only referring to "the depth of the friendship" between Indonesia and Australia. The Australian prime minister said that it was a “reminder of facts.” Abbott said that he would want the relationship between the two countries to “grow stronger, stronger in the weeks and months ahead.”

Indonesia earlier delayed the transfer of the Australian pair from Bali to Nusakambangan island where there were supposed to be executed. The lawyer of the Australian convicts, Todung Mulya Lubis, asked the Indonesian Attorney-General to wait until the next court appearance on Feb 24.

Irish priest Charlie Burrows, meanwhile, said that waiting for the execution was also torture. He has plans to challenge the death penalty in the Constitutional Court on those grounds. The Irish priest witnessed the execution of two Nigerian drug smugglers on the “death” island seven years ago. He believes that prisoners can go insane while waiting to be executed.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Irish priest sang “Amazing Grace” when the Nigerians were moaning in pain after having been shot. Father Burrows said that the Nigerians took around eight minutes to die. His experience during their death motivated the priest to start a campaign against capital punishment.

Abbott earlier said that he would do the best he could "to ensure that these executions don't go ahead." He said that Australia would “appeal to the better angels of our natures.” The Australian PM added that he would try to let Indonesia know that granting clemency would be “in their best interests.” He said that forgiveness was “in accordance with” Indonesia’s best values.

Contact the writer: s.mukhopadhyay@IBTimes.com.au

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