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Indonesia is making final preparations to execute Andrew Chan 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33 along with a 45 year old Nigerian man and a 30 year old Filipina woman.
Myuran and Andrew have spent the last nine years in Bali’s notorious Kerobokan Denpasar jai in Bali for their part in trying to smuggle 8kgs of heroin out of Bail and into Australia.
Since being incarcerate both Andrew and Myuran have been model prisoners and have guided other prisoners through art classes, Andrew with the religious ministry. During his time in Jail Myuran has immersed himself in art and has used money raised from exhibitions to pay for life saving medical treatments for other inmates. They have also set up English and computer workshops for other inmates to teach them skills they can use to live a reformed life after their jail terms are complete.
After many appeals and pleas for clemency were rejected president Joko Widodo said that he would give no clemency for drug dealers, regardless of the incredible transformation of the two Australians who have been completely reformed under Indonesia’s prison system.
Despite ongoing appeals by their legal teams, and talks between Tony Abbot the prime minister of Australia and a dismayed Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, today it has been announced that tomorrow Wednesday the 4th of March the two will be transferred to the execution island of Nasakambanganon where they will be put into isolation cells where they will remain alone once the 72 hours notice of execution will be given.
Julie Bishop has said that is callous for the executions to proceed given the men’s rehabilitation. The pair’s lawyers have just lodged another appeal in a bid to have the facts of their case and their rehabilitation considered by the courts. In Jakarta, Todung Mulya Lubis begged for the executions to be stopped “I plead to the president, I plead to the attorney-general, please wait for the legal process to be completed” he told reporters.
The attorney-general rejected the idea that the executions should be delayed, “if there’s already clemency (rejected), there should be no more other legal challenges submitted” he told reporters.
While many believe that drug traffickers do indeed deserve to die for their crimes that have such a devastating effect on those addicted to drugs, many feel that executing two men who have been fully rehabilitated is unfair. Indonesia instead should show clemency and reduce the sentence to life and allow Andrew and Myuran to continue the outstanding work they have done in the prison and continue to improve conditions that give other prisoners a real chance of not re offending. Even prison guards, while saying they respect the law, have said they would be very sorry to see the pair executed. Even those who do agree with the death penalty have shown concern that the two will spend their final hours in solitary confinement before being taken out into a clearing in the dead of night, being given the option of standing up, sitting down or kneeling, the option of being blindfolded or not and then being shot at by twelve gunmen, three with live rounds, all aiming for the heart. Death by this method can take longer than six minutes, and if they do survive the shots then the end will come by a shot to the temple.
Andrew and Myuran are aware of the transfer according to officials and have started to give their food and belongings to other inmates including other members of the Bail 9. Myuran told his fellow inmates to be careful and behave after he leaves. The duo will be able to take some belongings to the island where they will face the firing squad, but their families will not be able to visit them on Wednesday as there will be restricted access as preparations to move the men under the guard of armed soldiers in military transport planes.
Many Australian’s are appalled that the Indonesians, rather than showing off their skills at rehabilitation, would rather kill two men by such draconian methods in the middle of the night, and other members of the Bail 9 have questioned their will to live, one told reporters that he may as well be shot as well if there was no chance of clemency after years of good behavior. A question many are now asking is where is the incentive for inmate to reform and behave if there is nothing to gain from it and no recognition of reform or good behavior will ever be recognized.
Many Australians are also now vowing to never step foot again on Indonesian soil and feel international relations with the country will suffer, especially after Australia donated so much money to the cleanup operation after the Asian Tsunami. The families of the two men continue to beg for mercy for their sons who have shown such reform and beg for the lives of two men who were silly teenagers who made some bad decisions at the time of their crimes and deserve to be spared such a terrifying end to their lives.
While some follow the philosophy – if you cant do the time don’t commit the crime, many as asking why anybody who shows such reform does not deserve a second chance and how being shot is really doing time, and how their deaths will impact on their devastated families.
The two men have never asked to be freed, simply to have their sentences commute to life in jail, so they can continue the prison reforms that are having a positive effect on so many lives.
A Mercy Campaign has been set up for Andrew and Myuran that you can find more information on by clicking here