Judge tells of his fight to save Bali drug pair
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.