Chan and Sukumaran shot despite rehabilitation and pending appeals

Two Australian citizens, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were executed by firing squad in Indonesia overnight. They had been convicted as part of the Bali 9, who had been caught attempting to smuggle heroin to Australia.Six other people were killed alongside Chan and Sukumaran, and one woman’s execution was postponedMark Kenny argues, “By definition, jurisdictions retaining the death penalty believe some crimes are so serious that the perpetrators are beyond redemption and are of zero human value… that no rehabilitation is even possible. This is where the court’s original decision on February 14, 2006 was wrong as a matter of fact.” The pair are widely seen as models of rehabilitation: Chan became a Christian pastor and provided counselling to other prisoners, and Sukumaran established education programs earned a fine arts degree. His portraits became a focal point for campaigners against their execution: “by making his mark in paint, he has created a vivid reminder of the simple fact that real human lives are extinguished by the death penalty. … These paintings cry out against a monstrous inhumanity.” Their work made such a difference to the Kerobokan Prison that its governor appeared in court to support their plea for mercy. In recent weeks, President Joko Widodo refused to consider their individual circumstances, instead applying a blanket policy to reject clemency for drug traffickers. The Indonesian Constitutional Court has agreed to hear an appeal against this policy on 12 May. The Judicial Commission also said it would interview the Bali 9’s lawyers next week, to investigate claims the sentencing judge sought a bribe. However, these pending appeals did not halt the executions. The Australian Government is opposed to the death penalty everywhere in the world, and says there will be diplomatic consequences. It has already withdrawn its ambassador to Indonesia. However, the role of the Australian Federal Police in exposing the Bali 9 to the death penalty remains controversial.