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Letter from ACBC President Most Rev Denis Hart to Indonesian President Joko Widodo RE Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran

We believe that jail sentences, not execution, are the more appropriate means of punishing offenders and deterring those who would consider committing such crimes. Our concern for the sacredness of life motivates this plea for clemency.
Archbishop Denis Hart

Dear President Widodo,

I write concerning the circumstances of the Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on death row in Kerobokan prison.

Among the nine Australians arrested in April 2005 for trafficking drugs, Messrs Chan and Sukumaran are now facing the death penalty.

I recognise the seriousness of the offences committed in your jurisdiction and the devastating effect of drugs in communities both in Indonesia and Australia. Justice must prevail and appropriate punishment used for the common good of our societies when such crimes are committed. However, we believe that jail sentences, not execution, are the more appropriate means of punishing offenders and deterring those who would consider committing such crimes.

Our concern for the sacredness of life motivates this plea for clemency. I am aware that Andrew and Myuran are remorseful and have been reformed. They have initiated education programs with the intention of supporting and reforming other prisoners. This is testimony to the opportunity for rehabilitation afforded them in Indonesia’s penal system and to the commitment of these two men to make a positive contribution to the lives of fellow inmates and to the broader Indonesian community. It is my hope that their lives will be spared and that their contribution can continue.

I understand that under Indonesian law, following judicial reviews and unsuccessful appeals against the death sentence, the President may consider appeals for clemency.

With great respect, I therefore seek Your Excellency’s compassionate response to the dire situation of these young men and appeal to you to commute the death sentence in these cases.

Yours sincerely,
Denis Hart

Archbishop of Melbourne
President
Australian Catholic Bishops Conference

Released by Australian Catholic Bishops Conference 21 January 2015

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