Australia Urges Indonesia Not to Execute Drug Smugglers on Death Row

Indonesia owes it to Australia not to execute two Australian drug offenders on death row, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday, ratcheting up a diplomatic war of words that is threatening to sour relations between the neighbors.

Australia has been pursuing an eleventh-hour campaign to save the lives of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, two members of the so-called Bali Nine, convicted in 2005 as the ringleaders of a plot to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

Indonesia has harsh penalties for drug trafficking and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap.

Abbott urged Indonesia to remember the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, saying Australia would feel “grievously let down” if the executions proceeded despite the roughly A$1 billion in assistance it rendered after the disaster that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia’s Aceh province.

Indonesian Foreign ministry spokesman Armanatha Nasir told reporters in Jakarta he hoped Abbott’s statement did not “reflect the true colors of Australians.”

– Read the entire article at Reuters.