Sunday, July 21, 2013

Indonesia: 'Torture' as Bali 9 Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran wait to die

Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran
An insight into the lives of 6 Australians from the infamous Bali 9 drug-smuggling ring reveals their daily struggle with life jail terms in Indonesia and, for 2 of them, being on death row.

Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran, Scott Rush, Matthew Norman, Michael Czugaj and Si Yi Chen also tell veteran journalist Mike Willesee their thoughts and memories of the drug-smuggling attempt that sealed their fate 8 years ago.

Willesee was given rare access to the convicted traffickers behind bars at Kerobokan prison for Channel 7's Sunday Night program tomorrow.

Ringleaders Chan and Sukumaran reveal how they live in constant fear that they will be suddenly executed.

It is customary for Indonesian prisoners to be removed without notice to face a firing squad.

"It's 12 o'clock at night," Sukumaran, from Sydney's inner-west, says. "They come in, a whole bunch of guards, and pull you out of your cell.

"I know they won't do it in Bali. They take you to an island - I don't know.

"You can ask to be blindfolded. You don't have to be. And then they shoot."

On April 17, 2005, 9 Australians, some teenagers on their first trip overseas, were caught trying to smuggle heroin from Bali into Australia.

Chan and Sukumaran were identified as the ringleaders and given the death penalty.

"I was young and basically I thought I was invincible," Chan says.

Sukumaran adds: "The only thing I was thinking, really, was to make some money, quick money."

Rush was just 18 when arrested at Denpasar airport trying to smuggle heroin strapped to his body out of Indonesia. Looking pale and shaken, he is desperate not to spend the rest of his life in prison.

"We have to be rescued," he pleads.

Willesee, who spent 4 days in the jail with the 6 of Bali 9 convicts interviewed, told - The Weekend West - he was deeply affected by going to Bali to do the story.

Showing sympathy for Chan and Sukumaran who, he said, were reformed and rehabilitated, Willesee described their wait as torture.

"The thought of them spending more nights this year, maybe next year - who knows - waiting for the execution, I just don't think it should happen," he said. "Life imprisonment seems enough."

The 6 prisoners also revealed why they tried to traffic the drug and how some of them thought they would get away with it.

"You think it's not going to happen to me," Norman says. "It happens to other people. I'm lucky.

"Looking for adventure, never been out of the country before, I thought, 'Yeah, why not'."

Source: The West Australian, July 20, 2013