April 29, 2015 saw the execution of eight persons who have been accused of drug smuggling found guilty in 2005 and sentenced in 2006.

Despite the international outcry concerning the announced collective execution, pleas from families and the international community, and a three-month wait, the firing squad executed the convicted in the prison island of Nusakambangan.

Among the eight people executed for their crimes, Andrew Chan, aged 31 and Myuran Sukumaran, aged 34, both Australian nationals, have sparked a controversial approach to the matter. They were found guilty in 2005 for being the ringleaders of the Bali Nine Gang which attempted to smuggle 8.3 kg of heroin from Indonesia in Australia. The capture was valued at around 3.1 million dollars and following prosecution the two were sentenced to death, while their seven partners were sentenced to life in prison.

While imprisoned, the two ringleaders seemed to have redeemed themselves and to have been model inmates. Against this background, Mr. Tony Abbott, Prime Minister of Australia, made a declaration labeling the executions as cruel and unnecessary, adding that both Mr. Chan and Mr. Sukumaran had been rehabilitated during their detention period.

Intensive efforts to relief the sentence on the two Australian nationals were made by the Australian authorities. A prisoner swap and funds for drug rehabilitation were among the offers on the negotiation table.

Yet, a total of 64 people were found on death row in Bali, all under criminal charges related to drugs. And Indonesia’s President, Mr. Joko Widodo was unabated from his plan to apply a shock therapy to what he called a national emergency. Therefore, no mercy would be shown to those sentenced to death.

In January 2015, another six prisoners were executed in Bali on similar charges, including a Brazilian and a Dutchmen. Today, with Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, six more people face the death squad. These were Zainal Abidin, an Indonesian, Rodrigo Gularte, from Brazil, Sylvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Raheem Agbaje Salami from Nigeria, and Okwudili Oyatanze and Martin Anderson of Ghana.

Among those who raised their voice against the cruelty of the executions was Amnesty International. Diana Sayed, Human Rights Lawyer and Crisis Campaigner, said “The death penalty is always a human rights violation, but there are a number of factors that make today’s executions even more distressing.”

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