BLACK SABBATH's TONY IOMMI Appeals To Indonesia's Heavy Metal-Loving President To Stop Executions

March 3, 2015

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi has appealed to Indonesian president Joko Widodo to spare the lives of the two Australians who were sentenced to death in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine group, were arrested at Denpasar airport in April 2005 and have been refused clemency by Widodo as part of a hardline stance on the death penalty for convicted drug criminals.

Iommi's letter to Widodo, which was reportedly translated and delivered to the president's office in Jakarta on Wednesday morning by Australian officials, read in full:

"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 lndonesia, this is something that all countries are having to deal with.

"lndeed, 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 lndonesian 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 lndonesian 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 lndonesia and make good for the error of their previous ways. I do hope you will consider this personal appeal.

"Yours sincerely,

"Tony Iommi
Guitarist, Black Sabbath."

Widodo, who has professed love for heavy metal bands like METALLICA, MEGADETH, LAMB OF GOD and NAPALM DEATH, was declared the winner of Indonesia's presidential election in July 2014 after receiving 53.13 percent of the vote.

The 53-year-old Widodo, who served as governor of Jakarta from 2012 to 2014, attended METALLICA's August 2013 concert in the city — 25 years to the day after the release of the band's fourth album, "…And Justice For All", and more than 20 years after their tumultuous first show in Indonesia.

Back in May 2013, Widodo had to turn over his autographed METALLICA bass guitar to the government temporarily, while authorities determined whether the instrument was merely a gift or a violation of ethics rules. Widodo received the bass from METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo, but had to give it up to the state within 30 days, according to laws regarding gifts to state officials.

NAPALM DEATH frontman Mark "Barney" Greenway also recently wrote a letter to Widodo, asking the president to "please spare the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran." He continued: "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."


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