Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has penned a letter of appeal to the Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare the lives of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran who today were transferred to the Indonesian prison island where they are scheduled to face execution.
Reports Fairfax, a translated version of Iommi’s letter addressed to Joko Widodo – a self professed metal fan – is believed to have been delivered to the President’s office in Jakarta this morning. In the letter Iommi acknowledges Indonesia’s efforts to combat drug abuse but appeals to the President to recognise Chan and Sukumaran’s remarkable rehabilitation.
“I appeal to you, as a forgiving man, to take note of their transformation. They are now reformed men who are making a positive difference to the lives of their fellow prisoners,” writes Iommi.
“That they have been transformed so much is a real credit to the Indonesian authorities. For this reason, I would ask that you stop the execution of Andrew and Myuran.” Read the letter in full below.
The letter was sent on a signed letterhead and was reportedly organised by Jon Dee, founder of the Australian charity DoSomething. It follows a similar one written by Napalm Death frontman Mark Greenway, who also appealed for mercy for the two Australians earlier this year.
“As a follower of our band Napalm Death, you would appreciate that our lyrics and ethos challenge the unbroken cycle of violence in the world, whether it comes from a state or as an individual,” wrote Greenway. “If these things are not challenged and ultimately changed, I believe we will never truly move forward as humankind.”
Read both letters below.
Aussie band The Temper Trap have also thrown their support behind Sukmaran and Chan, with vocalist Dougy Mandagi having shared his thoughts on the Temper Trap Facebook page over the last few weeks. With the news of Chan and Sukumaran’s transfer today, Mandagi wrote that his “heart breaks for humanity”.
Tommy Iommi’s letter to Indonesia President Joko Widodo:
The President of lndonesia
3rd March 2015
Your Excellency, I am writing to appeal to you to grant clemency to Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
I understand and respect your efforts to combat drug abuse in Indonesia, this is something that all countries are having to deal with.
Indeed, I have seen first hand the negative impacts that drugs can have on people and their families. That is why I understand your strong views on this issue. The Indonesian prison system has had great success in transforming Andrew and Myuran.
I appeal to you, as a forgiving man, to take note of their transformation. They are now reformed men who are making a positive difference to the lives of their fellow prisoners.
That they have been transformed so much is a real credit to the Indonesian authorities.
For this reason, I would ask that you stop the execution of Andrew and Myuran.
Please allow them to serve out life sentences where they contribute to the wellbeing of Indonesia and make good for the error of their previous ways. I do hope you will consider this personal appeal.
Guitarist, Black Sabbath.
Mark Greenway’s Letter to Indonesia President Joko Widodo:
Dear Mr. Widodo,
I am appealing directly to you to please spare the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the two Australian citizens who are currently awaiting the death sentence in Indonesia for heroin smuggling. As a follower of our band Napalm Death, you would appreciate that our lyrics and ethos challenge the unbroken cycle of violence in the world, whether it comes from a state or as an individual. If these things are not challenged and ultimately changed, I believe we will never truly move forward as humankind.
I understand that you are standing as a leader determined to change things for the better, and so I believe granting clemency would be a major step forward in this pursuit of betterment. I appreciate that heroin can be damaging on many levels, but I believe that this is a much deeper issue that cannot be changed or altered by simply taking away the lives of people.
Again, I respectfully ask that you make a real difference and overturn these sentences.
In hope and peace
Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway (Napalm Death)