Geoffrey Rush joins Australian actors in 'Save Our Boys' campaign to stop Bali Nine executions

The video was criticised for targeting the Australian Prime Minister when he has already made successive efforts to stop the deaths

Lizzie Dearden
Tuesday 28 April 2015 11:02 BST
Geoffrey Rush says he 'stands for mercy'
Geoffrey Rush says he 'stands for mercy' (AFP PHOTO/BEN STANSALL)

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Geoffrey Rush has joined a host of Australian actors in a campaign to stop the imminent execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

The duo are due to be shot dead in Indonesia for their part in the “Bali Nine” drug smuggling gang after 10 years in prison.

Efforts by lawyers, politicians and rights groups have failed to convince the government to grant clemency and they have been saying their last goodbyes to relatives today.

The “Save Our Boys” campaign is a last-ditch effort to pressure Tony Abbott into doing something to stop their deaths, although his previous interventions have failed.

In a video encouraging people to film their own messages and use the #saveourboys hashtag on social media, actors tell the Prime Minister to “be a leader”, “get to Indonesia” and “bring them home”.

“I’m an Australian and I stand for mercy,” said Oscar-winning Rush, who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean.

Brendan Cowell, a well-known Australian actor, said: “Tony, if you had any courage and compassion, you’d get over to Indonesia and bring these two boys home – show some balls.”

The video shows dozens of celebrities and supporters telling Mr Abbott to “sanction Indonesia” and “get tough”, asking “where are you?”

Guy Pearce, best known for the 2000 film Memento, was also in the film with Peter Helliar, Bryan Brown, Joel Edgerton, Deborah Mailman, Tasma Walton, Nadine Garner and Barry Otto.

It has been widely criticised in Australia for targeting the leader after years of diplomatic efforts to free Sukumaran and Chan.

Some called the actors “ignorant” for not understanding limits on the government’s ability to affect another country’s judicial process.

Cowell, who appears to have deleted his Twitter profile after a tide of angry criticism, apologised in a tweet earlier today.

“Apology if we came across desperate or ignorant. Just heartbroken,” he wrote.

Andrew Chan, right, and Myuran Sukumaran, centre, are due to be executed tonight
Andrew Chan, right, and Myuran Sukumaran, centre, are due to be executed tonight (EPA)

Julie Bishop, the foreign minister, defended Mr Abbott by saying he had spoken to Indonesian President Joko Widodo on numerous occasions and could do no more.

“We have made representations across every level, across every sector of the Indonesian government and we’ll continue to do so,” she added.

Sukumaran and Chan were convicted in 2006 as part of the “Bali Nine” drug smuggling gang who were arrested on the island for trying to smuggle 8kg of heroin to Australia. Their six Australian co-conspirators were jailed for between 18 years and life in Indonesia.

The pair are part of a separate group of drug convicts, including seven others from Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria and Indonesia, due to be imminently executed.

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