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Iommi in bid to stop Indonesia drug executions

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi has pleaded for the lives of two Australians sentenced to death in Indonesia, by writing a letter to the country’s President Joko Widodo – a heavy metal fan.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were arrested in 2005 over their involvement in a smuggling group known as the Bali Nine. They were later convicted and await execution.

The letter, dated yesterday (March 3), was delivered to the president, known as Jokowi, in Jakarta today.

Iommi writes: Your Excellency, I understand and respect your efforts to combat drug abuse in Indonesia. 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.”

He continues: “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 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.”

The letter is signed: “Tony Iommi, guitarist, Black Sabbath.”

Jokowi became president of Indonesia after winning election in 2014. The previous year he’d been ordered to hand over a bass signed by Robert Trujillo after he’d attended a Metallica show, since it was regarded as a potential violation of ethics rules.

Iommi’s letter follows a similar plea written by Mark ‘Barney’ Greenway of Napalm Death – a band Jokowi is known to follow. Just after the election, Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe said: “From what I can tell, Jokowi seems to be a man of the people.”

Martin Kielty

Not only is one-time online news editor Martin an established rock journalist and drummer, but he’s also penned several books on music history, including SAHB Story: The Tale of the Sensational Alex Harvey Band (opens in new tab), a band he once managed, and the best-selling Apollo Memories (opens in new tab) about the history of the legendary and infamous Glasgow Apollo. Martin has written for Classic Rock and Prog and at one time had written more articles for Louder than anyone else (we think he's second now). He’s appeared on TV and when not delving intro all things music, can be found travelling along the UK’s vast canal network.