The Courier-Mail

Judge tells of his fight to save Bali drug pair

- CINDY WOCKNER

A FORMER Indonesian judge and leading legal figure has revealed his behind-the-scenes battle to stop the executions of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan and others and how he twice managed to have the firing squads postponed.

Professor Jimly Asshiddiqi­e, who is in Melbourne to deliver a lecture today, has revealed to News Corp Australia how he personally spoke with his country’s President and Vice-President in a bid to save the lives of Sukumaran and Chan.

Prof Asshiddiqi­e, a former chief Judge of Indonesia’s Constituti­onal Court, revealed how he tried many ways to save the lives of the Bali Nine and the others executed including the possibilit­y of using Papua New Guinea in a prisoner-swap agreement.

In a wide-ranging interview ahead of delivering his lecture at the Melbourne Law School, Prof Asshiddiqi­e told of his quest to stop the executions, of his hopes that the death penwould eventually be abolished in Indonesia and of his time on the country’s highest court.

He also told of a confluence of issues – domestic politics, overcrowde­d jails, Australia’s reaction to the impending executions, the Schapelle Corby clemency issue and a perception that Australian lives mattered more than Indonesian lives – came together and saw the new Indonesian President order two sets of executions this year.

Prof Asshiddiqi­e said that in the months before the Bali Nine duo was executed, their deaths were postponed twice.

“I talked to the Vice-President and I talked also to the President,” Prof Asshiddiqi­e said. He said he had hoped that during the postponeme­nts, legal appeals and court decisions may have changed the outcome.

“During the period of the postponeme­nt of the executions I tried to discuss other alternativ­es,” he said. A suggestion was a prisoner transfer or exchange of the two Australian­s with Indonesian­s in jail in Australia – with a third country, Papua New Guinea – but Indonesia was not keen. On April 29, Sukumaran, Chan and six others were shot by firing squad.

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