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Seeking the Quality of Mercy

‘Bali Nine’ Andrew Chan Files Last Ditch Request for Clemency From Death Row

(5/13/2012) Agence France Presse and The Jakarta Globe report that 28-year-old Australian Andrew Chan has filed a formal appeal for clemency from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, seeking a reprieve from the sentence of death before a firing squad.

In June 2011 Chan saw his final appeal against his death sentence rejected by the Indonesian courts, commencing a final countdown to his death under a newly streamlined and expedited execution process that formerely consumed decades in Indonesia.

With the clock ticking down, Chan’s only remaining hope of staying alive is an act of clemency from the Indonesian President; a man who has made past statements declaring no inclination for mercy or leniency in dealing with those convicted of narcotics offences.

Chan together with eight other Australians known as the “Bali Nine” were caught trying to smuggle 8 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia in June 2005.

Myuran Sukumaran, another Australian national, is the other remaining member of the “Bali Nine” under sentence of death.

Chan’s final deadline for filing a request for clemency fell on May 10, 2012, prompting the appeal filed by his lawyer just before that cut-off date. Sukumaran has until July 6, 2012, to make a similar final appeal for Presidential mercy.

The remaining seven members of “The Bali Nine” have five serving life sentences and the remaining two serving punishments of 18 and 20 years.

In making the appeal for mercy to the Indonesian President, Chan’s lawyers have argued that their client's age warrant the chance to be given a chance live and reform his life.

The Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has underlined her government’s opposition to the death penalty, affirming she would work to have Chan’s sentence commuted.

Australia performed its last execution in 1967.

The previous Australian government under Prime Minister John Howard did not call for the commutation of the death sentence for the three Indonesian men sentenced to death for the 2002 Bali bombing, saying, in that instance, “justice was served” by the death penalty.