Bali Nine man makes plea

Nanjing Night Net

DEATH row Bali Nine drug trafficker Myuran Sukumaran has lodged his plea for clemency, with lawyers writing a long letter to appeal personally to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

One of Sukumaran’s lawyers, Julian McMahon, confirmed last night that Sukumaran had handed the letter to Kerobokan prison governor Gusti Ngurah Wiratna last Friday.

Sukumaran and fellow inmate Andrew Chan, who were found to be the ringleaders of the 2005 heroin smuggling plot, are the only two of the Bali Nine still on death row.

Both lost appeals to Indonesia’s Supreme Court a year ago, leaving the President’s discretionary grant of clemency as their only hope.

Since then, Mr Yudhoyono has granted clemency to cannabis trafficker Schapelle Corby, reducing her 20-year prison term by five years.

But since then there has been a political backlash in Indonesia against the decision, with Mr Yudhoyono being accused of favouring a foreigner and going soft on drugs.

This could make it politically difficult for the President to offer clemency to Chan and Sukumaran.

Mr McMahon would not spell out the details of the plea yesterday except to say it was in the same form as Chan’s, which was lodged in May.

At the time he told The Age that the plea was based on the ”very progressive” stance Indonesia had taken in adopting the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights into both its constitution and domestic law.

Yesterday, Mr McMahon said that, “as is usual with clemency applications in any country, the letter contains some information which is both personal and legal”.

“It’s now a matter of allowing the Indonesian process to take its course, which will include advice from the Supreme Court to the President.

”When the document reaches the President, several months from now, it will then be a matter purely and totally within the President’s prerogative,” he said.

Unlike Australian law, the country’s political leader has wide-ranging powers to grant relief from sentences.

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