Indonesia’s turnaround on death penalty means heartbreak for two Australian families

There are two Australian families facing what’s meant to be a happy time of year with heavy hearts. There are
New Zealand

There are two Australian families facing what’s meant to be a happy time of year with heavy hearts. There are two Australian families that lost their sons to the firing squad in Indonesia after 10 years in prison. And there are two Australia families who will be sickened by the latest news from Indonesia: they have halted executions.

According to the country’s top security minister, the current death row inmates will not be facing the firing squad in the near future.

Luhut Binsar Panjaitan told a news conference the government’s priority was to address the economic slowdown, during bilateral meetings aimed at boosting trade with the Australian government.

It’s a step to patch up the damaged relationship fractured by the killing of two Australian citizens: Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in April.

“We haven’t thought about executing a death penalty with the economic conditions like this,” Mr Panjaitan told reporters in Jakarta.

BBC reports Indonesian correspondents have said no executions are scheduled at this time, a stark contrast from the hurried nature of Chan and Sukumaran’s last days.

Indonesia’s economic growth dropped below 5% in 2015, and executions cost not only government money, but tourism to the country as Western nations generally oppose their hard line on prisoners.

This year Indonesia executed 14 people by firing squad, including citizens from Brazil, the Netherlands and Nigeria, as well as Australia, damaging relationships and losing ambassadors from the majority.

Currently, there are dozens of people awaiting their fate, although none are Australians.

It remains to be seen whether Chan and Sukumaran would still be alive today if executions were halted, but it’s a question that their families will no doubt be thinking about.

Fierce campaigner and loyal friend to the executed men, Ben Quilty, said he was speechless today about the backflip:


Tell us, what are your thoughts? Is this a cruel twist or a step in the right direction?