Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran could be dead by the end of this month.
Sukumaran’s clemency appeal was rejected last month, while Chan is still awaiting the outcome of his appeal. But Indonesian authorities are saying he will be executed with fellow Australian Andrew Chan as they committed their crime together.
Five foreigners and one local woman were executed by firing squad on the weekend in Indonesia, raising fears that Chan and Sukumaran will be next to face the death penalty.
Julie Bishop told the Today show this morning that the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has written to the Indonesian President Joko Widodo, and the Australian government is “exhausting all avenues” to plead for clemency for the pair. These latest efforts come on top of some some 55 one on one meetings over the years between the leaders of the two countries, Bishop said.
“Australians find the death penalty abhorrent” Bishop said, adding that the “Australian government has a long-standing policy opposing the death penalty”.
“My personal view is that an execution of drug traffickers will not stop the problem of drugs in and out of Indonesia,” she told the Today show. “There’s a much broader approach that needs to be taken, however, the Indonesian government seems to be intent on pursuing the death penalty for drug traffickers.”
Bishop said both Chan and Sukumaran had “made significant efforts at rehabilitation” and this should be taken into account.
The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, said Labor stood “shoulder to shoulder” with the government in its appeal to Indonesia for clemency.
Ben Quilty, the Australian artist who has mentored Sukumaran, a gifted artist, has been speaking out in the media on behalf of the men.
Quilty has worked with Sukumaran since 2011 as he has developed his painting skills and studied for a degree in fine arts, which he is scheduled to complete the degree this year. His portraiture has taken on a passionate and introspective form.
“He’s completely shattered,” Quilty told Channel 7’s Sunrise this morning of Sukumaran. “He’s a big, quiet humble young man… It’s hard to know what to say to someone in that predicament.”
His voice breaking, Quilty said the last time he saw Sukumaran he said to him: “You’re drawing as well as I am. Imagine what I can do [with you] with another two two years”
“It doesn’t get any more full on.”