The Executions in Indonesia and the Death Penalty Worldwide

Nine Australians were arrested in Bali 10 years ago for smuggling Heroin and in the early hours of Wednesday the so called ring leaders—Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran—were executed.

Aged in their early 30s, the two men were shot to death along with six other men—a Brazilian, an Indonesian and four Nigerians. All were killed for drug offenses.

AFP reported that the men refused to be blindfolded, and a pastor said that they sang hymns, among them Amazing Grace, as they went to face the firing squad.


A Filipina woman also convicted of drug offenses was given a last minute stay of execution. Indonesian officials though say her death sentence still stands.

The ABC has summarized both Chan and Sukumaran’s journey over the past 10 years in the above video, and it’s been done in a somewhat sentimental fashion. Many journalists who spent time with either of the men came to like them as individuals.

Two sticking points with the Australian government are that appeals were still in process, particularly about the judges asking for bribes for a more lenient sentence, and the two men had genuinely been reformed over the 10 years they spent in prison, helping many other prisoners in the process.

Both men admitted what they did was wrong and stupid, and they were mostly concerned about how their families were suffering because of what they did, which you can see in this video below.

Sympathy has been given to the two drug smugglers also because of their plight within a corrupt Indonesian justice system.

“One of many of Indonesia’s infuriating hypocrisies is that much of its drug trade is controlled by the police and army (which is why low level smugglers are the only ones ever prosecuted). Drugs, and the gangs who sell them, are rampant inside prison,” wrote one Australian journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.

Indonesia’s punishment for drug offenses is severe and over a hundred people are at this time awaiting execution in the country.

Death penalty worldwide

The executions have also brought attention to death penalty worldwide. Last year, there were at least 607 executions carried out in 22 countries, says Amnesty International. However, Amnesty says that many countries—such as Eritrea and North Korea—do not make available information on their use of the death penalty.

In Belarus, China, and Vietnam, death penalty figures are classified as state secrets.

Amnesty says that available information does indicate that the communist authorities in China execute more people than the rest of the world combined, and the number of those killed could run into the thousands.

For more on Amnesty’s bid to end the death penalty, see the animated video below.

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