Inmates write to Jokowi to plead for Bali Nine death-row duo, say willing to take their place

In this file photo taken on Aug 17, 2010, convicted Australian drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran (left) and Andrew Chan (right) sit inside Kerobokan prison in Denpasar, Bali. -- PHOTO: AFP
In this file photo taken on Aug 17, 2010, convicted Australian drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran (left) and Andrew Chan (right) sit inside Kerobokan prison in Denpasar, Bali. -- PHOTO: AFP

DENPASAR - Fellow inmates of the two convicted Australian drug-smugglers scheduled to be executed this month have written to President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo to plead for leniency amid last-ditch attempts to save their lives.

The prisoners at Bali's Kerobokan Penitentiary, where Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, have been detained for almost 10 years, say in their letters they are willing to take the places of Chan and Sukumaran on death row, Jakarta Post reported on Monday.

One of the inmates, Martin Jamanuna, wrote to Jokowi in support of Chan, the report said. "He is a kind, caring person and so helpful to all people here. He is not 'using and playing' with drugs anymore. Every day, he is in church to teach us about mercy and kindness.

"Bapak President, please consider forgiving him," Jamanuna wrote in his letter.

Rico Ricardo, another inmate, also expressed support for Chan. "If the honorable President insists on implementing the death sentence of Chan, I, Rico Ricardo, am ready to replace Chan," Ricardo wrote, according to Jakarta Post.

Francois Jacques Giuily, a French inmate, wrote a similar letter.

Support also went to Sukumaran. "Thank Myuran. Nothing is impossible in the eyes of God. Don't give up," said Rusmono.

Chan and Sukumaran were arrested in 2005 on Bali and sentenced to death the following year for attempting to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

The pair, considered the ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug smuggling gang who were all arrested in Indonesia, argue they have rehabilitated themselves in their decade in prison and begged for their sentences to be commuted.

But President Jokowi, a vocal supporter of capital punishment who has warned Indonesia was in a state of emergency due to drugs, has refused to pardon them despite pleas from the Australian government and religious leaders.

Last week, the Foreign Ministry announced that Chan and Sukumaran would be executed later this month by a firing squad. The specific time and location of the execution has not yet been decided.

Several other foreigners on death row will also be executed.

Jakarta last month executed six drug offenders, including five foreigners, prompting Brazil and the Netherlands - whose citizens were among those put to death - to recall their ambassadors.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY AFP