Guns N' Roses singer pleads for clemency for men accused of smuggling drugs who have since been executed
Axl Rose sent a letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo yesterday, pleading for clemency for two members of the so-called "Bali Nine" – nine people arrested in 2005 for allegedly planning to smuggle heroin out of Denpasar – and a woman accused of smuggling the drug into the country. Although the woman – Mary Jane Veloso – was spared after a person who claimed to have recruited her as a drug courier surrendered to police, according to The New York Times, the men Rose named in his letter – Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran – were executed. A rep for Rose tells Rolling Stone the singer decided to make his letter public because he was "quite upset with such injustice."
"I appeal to you Mr. President, Mr. Joko Widodo to use your power...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," the Guns N' Roses singer wrote in the letter, which he also sent to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, three ambassadors and the chairman of the National Commission on Human Rights of Indonesia. The full text of the letter is reprinted below.
"Their crimes were now long ago, their hearts and minds forever changed by their crimes," Rose wrote. "In a world where the bad often outweighs the good and evil and negativity would appear more and more prevalent we need and can use every person choosing to make a difference.... In doing so we show the entire world that we are capable of forgiveness and mercy, a much greater sense of courage, strength and humanity and being so much more than that which seeks to overcome and destroy us."
The singer wrote that not sparing the prisoners' lives would be a "cold, cruel and uncaring message of hopelessness," and he pleaded that Joko not be "blinded by rigidity and inflexibility." He also called their death sentences "draconian" and the act of killing them "barbaric, backward and truly disgraceful."
Source: Rolling Stone, Kory Grow, April 29, 2015
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