The two leaders of the Bali Nine, who were convicted and sentenced to death in 2006, faced a firing squad shortly after midnight on the penitentiary island of Nusakambangan in Java.
Two Australians, Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, joined six other drug offenders in front of a 12-man firing squad in a jungle clearing near the Besi Prison on the penitentiary island. Of the original nine slated to die, only one, Mary Jane Veloso, would receive a postponement after the Philippine government asked for a stay in order to have the condemned woman testify at a human and drug trafficking trial in that country. Of the others executed, all but one were foreigners to Indonesia. The Indonesian was sentenced to death for marijuana trafficking.
Police arrested Sukumaran in a Kuta hotel room with three others and police said that they also seized 11.8 ounces of heroin at the scene. Chan was arrested at the Ngurah Rai International Airport. Prosecutors alleged that the two were the ringleaders of a nine person drug ring smuggling heroin from Indonesia to Australia. The information leading to the arrests came from the Australian Federal Police, who tipped off their Indonesian counterparts two weeks before the ring members traveled to Indonesia.
The remaining seven members of the alleged ring were given life sentences.
The pleas from around the world, and France, Brazil, the Netherlands, and Australia in particular, asking for reprieves for the condemned men went unheeded. Earlier this year, and repeated on Tuesday, Indonesia’s president, Joko Widodo, told the world, “I will say this firmly: No one may intervene with the executions because it is our sovereign right to exercise our laws.”
Joko has repeatedly said that his country of Indonesia is in a “state of emergency” because of the increased drug use and trafficking there. The death penalty moratorium was lifted last month in light of the drug problem there and soon after six prisoners were executed, five of whom were foreigners.
According to a police officer present at the executions as they were carried out, “The executions went well, without any disruptions.” The executions took place at 12:30 am.
As a result of the executions, Australia is considering withdrawing Paul Grigson, Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia.