Bali Nine duo ‘meant to get life’

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 07 Februari 2015 | 20.01

Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan have been on death row for almost a decade. Here's an overview of the significant events from 2005 to 2015.

Former lawyer ... Mohammad Rifan, who represented Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukamaran, says the duo were meant to get life in prison. Picture: Supplied Source: News Limited

THE lawyer who represented Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran when they were first sentenced to death has made a surprise visit to the two men in Kerobokan jail, hinting that he is aware of new evidence that could save them.

Muhammad Rifan visited the pair on Saturday and revealed that they were originally meant to be sentenced to life in jail but that "intervention" at the time ensured they got death.

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Mr Rifan, who stopped representing the pair after they got the death penalty and failed to win any appeals after being advised to plead innocence, has not spoken to the two Australians for years.

But yesterday he came, unannounced, to Kerobokan prison to see them and emerged to say that he had conveyed new information to Sukumaran which could help them in pleading for their lives.

Death sentence ... Andrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran (R) in a 2006 file photo. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

He said the new information or evidence would require support from the Australian Government but he refused to explain further.

The pair's current lawyers have foreshadowed further legal action next week in a bid to save their lives but have not said what form it would take.

Mr Rifan said that the two Sydney men were meant to be sentenced to life not death on the day of their verdict in the Denpasar District Court.

"At that time, they actually will be sentenced to life. There are several factors that caused them to be sentenced to death at that time. We saw there was intervention at that time," Mr Rifan said.

"The panel of Judges, I am very sure, also feel regret. Because after they sentenced them to death, they said to me that actually it was not what they want."

Mr Rifan said that he now felt regret at what has transpired and that Chan and Sukumaran are now just weeks from being shot dead by firing squad.

"For sure, I feel regret that the legal system is easily interfered with," he said.

Good friends ... Bali Nine Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran inside the workshop of Kerobokan jail in Bali. Picture: Supplied. Source: NewsComAu

He said that the political and legal systems were not independent of each other.

"We can feel it at that time. So the judges in the Denpasar court, the Bali High Court, as well as the Supreme Court did not escape from the intervention of the Government at that time," Mr Rifan said.

He said he had provided information to Sukumaran that could help in the future legal strategies. Sukumaran undertook to talk to his now lawyers, he said.

Asked why he had come to the jail to see the men on Saturday, Mr Rifan said he wanted to give them further information and options to use in any further legal action.

And he echoed a view being articulated by many within the jail system in Indonesia — Chan and Sukumaran are more use to the system alive not dead.

They have set up and run a host of rehabilitation programs in the jail, teaching inmates valuable skills to help them rehabilitate and break the revolving cycle of crime and jail.

"They do not deserve to be sentenced to death. They were stupid children not thinking about the long term."

Model prisoners ... Some prisoners have offered their own lives if Myuran Sukumaran (L) and Andrew Chan (R) are spared. Picture: AFP Source: AFP

It comes as the Australian Embassy in Jakarta was told by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry on Thursday that Chan and Sukumaran would die this month. But so far no date has been set and the country's Attorney-General has yet to confirm details for the next executions.

The Chan and Sukumaran families have been in Bali for the past few weeks, keeping a desperate vigil, hoping against hope for a miracle, since learning that both men's Presidential clemency bids had been rejected.

They were at the jail again Saturday visiting both young men, as was the Sydney pastor of the church attended by Sukumaran's family.

Mithran Chellappah from the C3 Church said he had known Myuran Sukumaran for the past 15 years.

He said in "their state of condemnation" Sukumaran and Chan had achieved much more than others, himself included and that allowing them to live would achieve much more than killing them.

"They can be a wonderful experience to someone turning their life around," Pastor Chellappah said outside the jail.

And former and current jail inmates have written a series of emotional letters, pleading for life, some even offering to take their place in front of the firing squad.


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