Australia recalls ambassador to Indonesia after executions

APRIL 29 (Reuters) — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday (April 29) he was recalling the nation’s ambassador to Indonesia in protest against the execution of two Australian drug smugglers.

Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed by firing squad along with six other drug convicts from several countries shortly after midnight on Wednesday, local media said.

“These executions are both cruel and unnecessary. Cruel because both Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran spent some decade in jail before being executed, and unnecessary because both of these young Australians were fully rehabilitated while in prison. Australia respects the Indonesian system. We respect Indonesia’s sovereignty but we do deplore what’s been done and this cannot be simply business as usual. For that reason, once all the courtesies have been extended to the Chan and Sukumaran families our ambassador will be withdrawn for consultations,” Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

“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. Whatever people think of the death penalty, whatever people think of drug crime, the fact is that these two families have suffered an appalling tragedy and I’m sure that every Australian’s thoughts and prayers will be with those families at this time,” Abbott said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said every effort had been made to appeal for clemency for the pair but their apparent rehabilitation was not taken into consideration by the authorities in Jakarta.

“Both were spending their time in jail helping to reform and improve the lives of other prisoners in the Indonesian prison system. They were examples of the hope and transformation that can come about through reflection, rehabilitation and remorse. As the Prime Minister said, their deaths at this time are senseless and unnecessary,” Bishop said.

Bishop said Ambassador Paul Gibson will return to Australia at the end of the week.