Sydney Archbishop Denounces Execution of 'Bali Nine'

Says Death Penalty ‘Punishes Families More Than Those Executed’

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Archbishop Anthony Fisher, O.P. of Sydney denounced the execution of two Australian citizens in Indonesia who were part of a drug ring.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were part of the “Bali Nine”, a group attempting to smuggle 8.3 kg (18 lbs.) of heroin in plastic bags strapped to their bodies from Indonesia to Australia. They were arrested at Bali airport in April 2005.

Although drug smuggling carries an automatic death sentence in Indonesia, Mary Jane Veloso, a member of the group from the Philippines was granted clemency. However, despite calls for clemency around the world, the other members were executed.

In a statement released by the Sydney Archdiocese, Archbishop Fisher recalled a joint statement made alongside the Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed.

“We are all aware of the terrible damage drugs cause. But refusing even to entertain appeals for mercy – even after the pair had demonstrably turned their lives around – seemed to us to damage our neighbour’s reputation for justice,” he wrote.

“In some ways capital punishment punishes the families more than those executed. They must carry the memories for years to come.”

Concluding his message, Archbishop Fisher expressed his condolences to the families of Chan and Sukumaran, saying: “May their children rest in peace.”

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Junno Arocho Esteves

Newark, New Jersey, USA Bachelor of Science degree in Diplomacy and International Relations.

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