Australians on death row ask Indonesia to let them live

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) - Two Australians on death row appealed to Indonesian president Joko Widodo on Sunday to let them live so they can continue helping fellow prisoners in a rehabilitation programme, their brothers said.

The kin of drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan made a statement to the media after visiting the pair in Kerobokan prison on Bali island.

"We see and hear many prisoners doing courses go on to jobs and better lives. Our brothers' great wishes for the President is to allow them to continue this help, to rebuild the lives of many more Indonesians for many more years to come," Michael Chan told reporters outside the prison.

The statement comes after Indonesia authorities delayed their execution by up to a month, backtracking on an earlier pledge to put the two men before the firing squad by the end of February.

Australia's government has voiced strong opposition to the planned executions.

"Our brothers are very grateful for the support and kindness shown to them by so many people, and we are amazed at their strength and resilience during this stressful time," Michael Chan said.

"As they reflect on their past they are also thankful to the Indonesian government, the prison officials and many volunteers that have allowed them to create a holistic rehabilitation programme that is now the envy of most prisons worldwide," he added.

Chan and Sukumaran, who have been on death row since 2006, claim they have themselves been rehabilitated. But Widodo, who has vowed a tough approach to ending what he has called Indonesia's "drug emergency", rejected their appeals for clemency.

"Myu and Andrew love Indonesia, they have a great respect for the Indonesian people and its culture, and it was through the support of the Indonesian justice system that they were able to help set up many programmes that have helped a lot of Indonesians and has also helped better themselves, and they are very grateful for that", said Chinthu Sukumaran.

Widodo, a vocal supporter of capital punishment, in January authorised the execution of six convicted drug smugglers including five foreighers.

Chan and Sukumaran are among seven foreigners - including citizens from France, Ghana, Brazil and Nigeria - who have lost their appeals for presidential clemency, the final hope of avoiding the firing squad.