Axl Rose voiced his concerns over Indonesian prisoners sentenced to execution for drug offenses in a lengthy letter to the country’s president, Joko Widodo, in advance of the their deaths Wednesday. Thoughtful words from the Guns N’ Roses singer were not, however, enough to get them pardoned.
Rose’s letter is dated April 27 and was posted to Facebook Tuesday, shortly before Australian nationals Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran and six others were killed. In it, he writes, “It’s true I do not know these men nor have I met them but their story has touched me deeply. I as well as many others could easily have found ourselves in their unfortunate and unarguably self-inflicted position.”
Filipina Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, who Rose also named, however, did manage to win a last-minute reprieve.
Rose continues, “People make mistakes, sometimes big and horribly regrettable mistakes and sometimes more importantly people learn from their mistakes and make new choices, strive and succeed at true positive change. To not acknowledge and give such change the opportunity to prove it’s value would seem in this case a greater crime than those originally committed.”
Guns N’ Roses visited Indonesia in 2012 for a performance in Jakarta that Rose calls a “very special and exciting experience.” He thanks Widodo for the hospitality they received, before asking he pardon Chan, Sukumaran and Veloso.
“That these individuals must die purely as an example to others is in my opinion akin to a kidnapper or terrorist killing hostages to make their point and have their demands met,” he writes. “In carrying out their death sentences the example shown here is one of draconian justice where the punishment in this stage of the condemned’s lives by virtue of their rehabilitation and genuine remorse over all these years no longer fits the original crime.”
Read the full letter here.