Australia PM Abbott says decent Indonesians understand anger over executions

A protester holding up a placard that reads "'death row is a murder and death penalty is not justice" during an anti-death penalty rally in front of the palace in Jakarta on April 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP 
A protester holding up a placard that reads "'death row is a murder and death penalty is not justice" during an anti-death penalty rally in front of the palace in Jakarta on April 28, 2015. -- PHOTO: AFP 

SYDNEY (REUTERS) - "Decent Indonesians" understand Australian anger over the execution of two convicted drug traffickers, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday.

His comments followed a statement by Indonesian Ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema acknowledging the strain the executions had placed on relations between the neighbours. Mr Kesoema expressed sympathy for the families of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran who were executed in Indonesia on Wednesday.

"The Indonesian people and government express our sympathies to the families and friends of the deceased,"he said.

Abbott recalled Australia's ambassador to Indonesia, Paul Gibson, in protest against the execution of Sukumaran and Chan, who faced a firing squad, along with six drug convicts from several countries, shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

"It's a sign that decent people in Indonesia appreciate the anger that Australians feel at these cruel and unnecessary deaths and it's a sign that in time the good and strong friendship between Australia and Indonesia can be resumed,"Abbott told reporters in Canberra.

The mass execution cements the hard line on enforcing the death penalty adopted by Indonesian President Joko Widodo when he took office last July, damaging diplomatic relations with several countries.

Chan's family returned to Sydney on Friday, but his body has yet to be released from a mortuary in Jakarta.