Indonesia executed seven foreigners including two Australians for drug smuggling, prompting Australia to recall its ambassador and warn the deaths had damaged relations.
Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, who were arrested for attempting to smuggle heroin out of Bali in 2005, were killed by firing squad along with three Nigerians, one Brazilian, a Ghanaian and an Indonesian. A Filipino due to be executed was given a reprieve.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia would take the “unprecedented” step of withdrawing its ambassador for consultations and called the executions cruel and unnecessary. Australia made more than 50 appeals for clemency and Abbott told reporters on Wednesday the men’s deaths mark “a dark moment in the relationship” with Indonesia.
The two countries have had prior episodes of friction that threatened to overshadow economic and strategic ties. Australia has been seeking to finalize a free-trade pact with Indonesia and the two cooperate on anti-terrorism measures and efforts to prevent people smugglers bringing asylum seekers to Australia by boat.
“Australia’s making a point but it can’t afford to escalate this further, because it doesn’t have any leverage over Indonesia and the relationship is already brittle,” said John Blaxland, a senior fellow at the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in Canberra. “Abbott can’t afford to let this moment become a defining one” with the nation’s northern neighbor, he said.
Source : Bloomberg