Bali Nine families try new plea

Written By komlim puldel on Minggu, 08 Februari 2015 | 23.08

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan have been on death row for almost a decade. Here's an overview of the significant events from 2005 to 2015.

Death sentence ... Australian Myuran Sukumaran is being escorted to a court for his trial in Denpasar, Bali. Picture: AFP /Jewel Samad Source: AFP

THE families of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan will travel from Bali today to Jakarta's presidential palace to plead for a second chance for the condemned drug traffickers.

Sukumaran's mother Raji and his brother Chinthu along with Chan's mother Helen and his brother Michael will be joined by Indonesia's national human rights organisation, Komnas HAM to announce the next legal stage in their battle to save the two Sydney men from the firing squad.

The families' journey to the Indonesian capital comes as the men's former lawyer has revealed that he has potential new evidence which could help save them and one of the judges who sentenced Sukumaran to death has told News Corporation that she never wanted to give him the death penalty and has regretted it every day since.



Awaiting death by firing squad ... Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran (right) and Andrew Chan. Picture: AFP / Jewel Samad Source: AFP

On the eve of their trip to Jakarta, Chinthu told News Corporation Australia of the suffering of his family.

"Our days are very difficult, we can't stop thinking of what will happen and the violent way he will be killed. My mum keeps thinking about his and Andrew's dead body being handed to her, she is having nightmares," Mr Sukumaran said.

"It is very difficult to not think about the violent way he will die, trying to work out how much time we have left and thinking about him not smiling again," he said.

"It is a truly awful punishment on my mother who did not do anything to deserve this," Mr Sukumaran said.


He said that his mother gets down on her knees every night to pray that the Indonesian President, Attorney-General and all who hold Sukumaran and Chan's fate in their hands can see how unique their case is and show mercy.

Mr Sukumaran said the family had watched in recent years as Indonesia worked successfully to seek mercy and save its own citizens on death row abroad. The family is now asking for the same mercy for the Australians.


Convicted co-ringleader ... Australian Myuran Sukumaran (right) faces death by firing squad in Bali this month. Source: News Corp Australia

"The crime deserved punishment, a long time in prison but not being taken out and shot dead."

And speaking exclusively to News Corporation, Judge Roro Suryowati, who is no longer in Bali, told how she has been in tears at the news that Sukumaran and Chan will soon be executed. She was on the Denpasar District Court bench which sentenced Sukumaran to death in 2006.

For the past decade Judge Suryowati has carried the regret with her and seeing news of the impending executions on television still causes her to cry. She is now a Judge of the High Court in a different region.

Straight talk ... Judge Roro Suryowati in her former office at Denpasar District Court in Bali. Source: News Corp Australia

Judge Suryowati cried on the day, in 2006, that Sukumaran was sentenced to death. She had not wanted it then and still does not believe it was justified.

It was the first and last time anyone in her court had been sentenced to death and she has never given a death sentence since and never will.

Her two fellow Judges on the bench had voted for Sukumaran to get death but she had argued against it, trying to talk them out of it. It was in vain. She was over ruled by the majority.

She says now she tried her best to seek a different outcome and she regrets she could not influence the outcome.

"My feeling has not changed. I feel pity for them. I feel sorry for them … Now if there is news about them, I often change the channel. It makes me cry."

Judge Suryowati's comments come in the wake of Mr Rifan's unannounced visit to the two men in jail on Saturday.

Devastated ... Raji Sukumaran (right) and Brintha Sukumaran (left) speak to the press after visiting Myuran Sukumaran inside the Kerobokan jail in Denpasar on Bali island on February 6. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Mr Rifan revealed that at the time his clients were to have been sentenced to life in jail not the death penalty but there was political interference which got them death.

"At that time, they actually will be sentenced to life. There are several factors that caused them to be sentenced to death at that time. We saw there was intervention at that time," Mr Rifan said.

"The panel of Judges, I am very sure, also feel regret. Because after they sentenced them to death, they said to me that actually it was not what they want."

He said he had provided information to Sukumaran that could help in the future legal strategies. Sukumaran undertook to talk to his now lawyers, he said. Mr Rifan spent an hour inside the jail on Saturday talking with his former clients, who he said were "surprised" to see him.

Getting help ... Helen Chan (left) is escorted by Australian Consul-General to Bali, Majell Hind, after visiting her son Andrew Chan. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

Meanwhile, in a last-minute bid to spare the pair, Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Antony Fisher put out a joint statement with Australia's Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed to appeal to the world's most populous Muslim nation.

Mr Fisher said more than 100 Indonesians have gained clemency as a direct result of the Indonesian Government's efforts in Saudi Arabia and Malaysia in recent years.

"The Indonesian Government has itself got a commission that permanently work on pleading the cause of people on death row from their own country," he said.

"They understand that even if the strict law directs this (the death penalty) there is still a good case to be made for clemency for particular people."

Mr Fisher said the church opposes the death penalty and claims by a lawyer who represented the duo, Mohamad Rifan, that the judges who sentenced them to death were pressured politically to do so meant the Indonesian Government should halt the imminent executions.

"The Catholic Church is against the death penalty, we recognise that at other times in history we have supported the death penalty. Our view today would be there are other ways of containing the danger of dangerous criminals," he said.

Behind bars ... Andrew Chan in Kerobokan prison. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: News Limited

"We've heard in the last day or so there might have been some inappropriate pressure put on the judges in that country.

"To the extent there were failings in the legal processes in either countries is another reason to delay and another reason for clemency."

The pair was men of "great charity" and was no longer a danger to society Mr Fisher said.

"They are reformed characters. They should still pay a price in terms of punishment for what they've done we all agree," he said.

Dr Mohammed said the Australian National Imams Council would contact its counterparts in Indonesia and was considering going to Indonesia to appeal to the government.

Hoping for a miracle ... Myuran Sukumaran who is also on death row. Picture: Adam Taylor Source: News Limited

"I believe the Indonesian Government will consider it seriously that we really hope they will take the right course of action," he said through an interpreter.

"We really believe they have repented and totally understand what they have done."

The statement by the two religious leaders will be sent to the Indonesian and Australian governments.

"Our request is for clemency or a commuted sentence for Andrew and Myuran so as to allow them to be further rehabilitated and to execute would prematurely end these lives, robbing both of them and our communities of the opportunity for ongoing repentance and rehabilitation," the pair said in the statement.

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