Oz Families Seek ‘Bali Nine’ Reprieve Based on Merit
Jakarta. Families of the two Australian Bali Nine members traveled to Jakarta on Monday to plead for clemency for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the drug-trafficking attempt, who are due to be executed.
The two families spoke at a press conference at Jakarta’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, with Sukumaran’s mother, Raji, speaking on behalf of both families.
“We beg you for mercy for our sons, we beg you to spare our sons’ lives, we beg you that they not be killed,” she said tearfully. “I understand the serious crime my son committed. They are both sorry for this. We are very sorry for this.”
Both men are said to have helped in the rehabilitation of other prisoners in Bali’s Kerobokan prison through various programs including photography, computer skills, reflexology, drug rehabilitation and first aid over the past 10 years.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade staff have been very supportive. They understand us and the Australian government is doing whatever they can; then again; I don’t know what is enough,” Raji Sukumaran said.
Chan’s brother, Michael, called on President Joko Widodo to review the facts in the case to grant clemency.
“Our main goal is to spend as much time with the boys. Coming here today was on the basis of mercy,” Michael said. “For us it’s more that the president take a look at what kind of rehabilitation the boys have done in the prison, have a look at the facts, have a look at the testimonies from the prisons, by the people. Indonesian citizens are writing these testimonies. The prison system has helped them to get where they are now.”
The families related how the two men had changed during their time in prison.
“They are so different from other prisoners. For the last 10 years, the families have gone through a lot. People are very proud of what the boys have done for the other prisoners and now at the end of 10 years they want to execute them. It’s not fair,” Raji Sukumaran said.
Michael Chan also noted that the former prison governor, Siswanto, spoke very highly of the two Australian citizens, with their rehabilitation helping everyone because they had so much to give.
“All I’m asking is to give them a chance. Let them have another go at life and they would thrive at what they do. And just to look at everything from its merit and not just the blanket process. That’s all I ask.”
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