Call for mercy at concert for Australians on Indonesia death row
More than two thousand Australians, led by local musicians, gathered in Sydney late Thursday in a plea for mercy for two drug convicts facing execution in Indonesia, as concern grew they could soon face a firing squad.
Sydney: More than two thousand Australians, led by local musicians, gathered in Sydney late Thursday in a plea for mercy for two drug convicts facing execution in Indonesia, as concern grew they could soon face a firing squad.
Holding candles and signs reading "I stand for mercy", the crowd listened to speeches and live music at Martin Place in the heart of the city, in a show of support for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who recently lost their final appeals for clemency.
The pair -- members of an Australian drug-smuggling gang dubbed the "Bali Nine" -- were arrested in Bali in 2005 and sentenced to death the following year for attempting to smuggle eight kilograms (18 pounds) of heroin out of the Indonesian holiday island.
Sukumaran`s grandmother Edith Visvanathan told the crowd that she was not asking for him to be sent home.
"I only ask him (Indonesian President Joko Widodo) to give him his life and let him do something with it," she said between sobs.
"Don`t kill him, please don`t kill him ... please, president, please forgive him."
Artist Ben Quilty, a friend of Sukumaran`s who organised the concert, choked back tears as he said the men`s families would be touched by the outpouring of support.
"Andrew and Myuran did really bad things, but they are good young men now," he added.
Australia`s Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson, who was in the audience, said there was "no cause for governments to kill people".
"The death penalty is completely inconsistent with human rights principles and disproportionate to the crimes being committed," he told AFP.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott last week urged Indonesia to show mercy to the pair, while lawyers for the men -- who are in their early 30s -- are planning a last-ditch appeal to their convictions.
But Indonesia`s attorney-general`s office has said further legal challenges were not possible once a clemency bid had been rejected.
Indonesia put to death five foreigners and a local woman convicted of drugs offences in mid-January, sparking a diplomatic storm as Brazil and the Netherlands recalled their ambassadors following the execution of their citizens.
A spokesman for the office of Indonesia`s attorney-general said late Wednesday that the country is ready to execute seven more foreign drug convicts, including Chan and Sukumaran, along with four Indonesians.
Those facing death alongside the Australian pair, all after losing their bids for presidential clemency, include citizens from France, Brazil, Nigeria and Ghana.