Grant Woodward: Don’t shed a tear for these peddlars of death and misery

One of ambulances carrying the bodies of Australian death-row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran arrives at a funeral home in Jakarta, Indonesia.
One of ambulances carrying the bodies of Australian death-row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran arrives at a funeral home in Jakarta, Indonesia.
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SHORTLY after midnight they were led to the place of their deaths, tied to crosses and then shot by a 12-man firing squad.

After a decade in jail, time had finally run out for Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, ringleaders of the Bali Nine drug smuggling plot.

Singing Amazing Grace as they were executed along with half a dozen other drug traffickers, their deaths have triggered condemnation around the world.

Australia announced the recall of its envoy to Jakarta over the “cruel and unnecessary” killings. Celebrities have taken to Twitter to express their revulsion.

Me, I can only think I must have missed something.

Forgive me if I’m wrong, but as far as I recall these two men were the brains (in the loosest sense of the word) behind a bid to smuggle £2m worth of heroin into their home country.

Imagine for a moment the sheer scale of human suffering that amount of this horrible, filthy drug can inflict.

Think of the stillborn babies of heroin-addled mums, or the ones who manage to make it out of the womb only to be hooked from birth because the stuff’s already flowing through their veins.

Think of the families torn apart. The thousands of lives being wasted away at the end of a needle. The grim, pointless, desperate deaths that follow.

Did any of that run through Chan and Sukumaran’s minds while they were strapping eight kilos of heroin to the bodies of their drug mules?

Of course not. They were thinking of the cash. The chance to get rich and sod what misery it inflicts on their fellow man.

As the countdown to his execution drew closer, Myuran Sukumaran’s mother, Raji, begged for her son’s life to be spared.

“I won’t see my son again and they are going to take him tonight and shoot him and he is healthy and he is beautiful and he has a lot of compassion for other people,” she pleaded.

It’s impossible not to feel sorry for this poor woman. But what about all those other parents mourning their beautiful, compassionate children ripped from their lives by the very drug her son was helping deliver to their doorstep? Don’t they deserve sympathy too?

And Sukumaran and Chan knew only too well the risks they were running. Walk into any airport in Indonesia and there are signs everywhere telling you drug trafficking is punishable by death. They even announce it on the plane as you fly in.

But pure greed persuaded them the risks were worth it.

One of the arguments against their execution is that the pair were reformed by 10 years behind bars. Sukumaran had become a decent artist and Chan an ordained pastor.

But penitence is easy when a death sentence is hanging over you. What would have happened if they’d got away with it?

Would they would have seen the error of their ways, or gone back for more? I know which one my money’s on.

These men were peddlars of death and misery. If their deaths convince other would-be traffickers to think twice then they’ll end up saving scores more lives that would otherwise have been lost to drugs.

Unlikely as it seems, maybe that thought will give their grieving families a crumb of comfort in the years to come.

In the meantime the liberals will carry on wailing and gnashing their teeth about these “barbaric” acts.

But who are they to tell other countries how they should fight the drug epidemic blighting their lands? And how quickly would they change their tune if it was their son and daughter whose life was ebbing away in a seedy bedsit with a needle sticking out of their arm?

Chan and Sukumaran have paid the price they knew was coming all along. People can mourn their deaths, but we shouldn’t persecute a country for sticking to its convictions – or forget what these men really were.