Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Guns N’ Roses leader Axl Rose was unsuccessful with a last-minute appeal to Indonesian President Joko Widodo on Monday to halt the executions of two Australians on decade-old drug charges.
Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and six others were executed on Wednesday by a firing squad on Nusakambangan prison island near Cilacap in Central Java.
Rose penned a lengthy note to Widodo – known for his love of hard rock and heavy metal – asking the President to intervene as a way of showing forgiveness and clemency in the face of international calls to halt the executions, while also requesting the same for convicted drug trafficker Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso.
“As all three are still alive,” wrote Rose, “these are clearly not cases where nothing can or should be done by those who care to do their utmost in efforts to spare them. Under the circumstances it would seem that if they are executed regrettably the Indonesian government becomes the more offensive criminal.
“I appeal to you Mr. President, Mr. Joko Widodo to use your power in ways to strengthen international relationships between your country and others, to show your country's strength and allow the world to witness an extraordinary act of humanity and bravery on yours and your country's part.”
“It's true I do not know these men nor have I met them but their story has touched me deeply,” Rose continued. “I as well as many others could easily have found ourselves in their unfortunate and unarguably self-inflicted position. People make mistakes, sometimes big and horribly regrettable mistakes and sometimes more importantly people learn from their mistakes and make new choices, strive and succeed at true positive change. To not acknowledge and give such change the opportunity to prove its value would seem in this case a greater crime than those originally committed.
“I realize I am no one and no one to get involved with your affairs or those of your government and how this letter reads or anyone other than yourself thinks of it is irrelevant,” said the singer. “Only the lives of these three human beings are what's important now.
“I ask you now to show such great depth of humanity and compassion now to these individuals and to deny your bloodlust in your war on drugs and grant clemency to these three individuals and give them a permanent stay of execution and to change the course of your own life and place in both your country's and world history. No other can do what you alone have the power to do and that is the power to show benevolence and mercy where mercy can be truly appreciated and given its proper respect not only by the condemned but by the entire world and its many leaders.
“Give them a chance to prove you right by living where their deaths at this stage can only prove tragic and by all involved avoidable and unnecessary,” concluded Rose. “You've made your point and struck fear in both the hearts and minds of the condemned and anyone even remotely considering bad choices or already involved in those worlds. Their crimes were not committed on your watch. Life is the only thing important now, not death but life.”
Widodo was elected to office in 2014 as Indonesia’s 7th President after a two-year term as Governor of the country’s capital city Jakarta.
Read Axl Rose’s full letter to President Widodo at Guns N’ Roses’ Facebook page.
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