Give Australian death-row prisoners life: Vigils held for Bali Nine pair set for execution

February 19, 2015 8:58 am
and say they’re blessed despite their death sentences.
Ampuni – meaning mercy – vigils for the Bali Nine pair have been held across .
The
convicted drug traffickers are due to face the firing squad in
Indonesia this month despite repeated pleas from the Australian
government.

Australian death-row prisoners Myuran Sukumaran, right and Andrew Chan,
left, stand in front of their cell during an Indonesian Independence Day
celebration. Photo / AP

Almost 2500 people showed solidarity with the men at
Melbourne’s Federation Square on last night. They included relatives and
friends as well as prominent figures such as Opposition Leader Bill
Shorten, performer Eddie Perfect and musicians Clare Bowditch and Missy
Higgins.
Letters, penned by Chan and Sukumaran, were read to the crowd.
Sukumaran said there were “no words” for the support shown for the pair.
“Whatever
happens, I know that me and Andrew are good people now, and even though
we have been in prison with a death sentence, we have been truly
blessed,” he wrote in the letter.

“Blessed to have such beautiful family and friends, blessed to
have received so much kindness, compassion, with people forgiving our
stupidity and supporting our change for the better.”
Sukumaran’s
cousin Andrew Rajeevan, who spoke with his sister Sonali and Chan’s
close family friends Georgina and Sarah Smith, said he looked up to his
cousin.
“Every day is a bonus and every day is a second chance,” he said.
Georgina said the Chan family was like any other.
“The boys have changed, the boys have changed peoples’ lives, the boys have changed our lives,” she said.
“Give them life.”
Supreme
Court Justice Lex Lasry, an anti-death penalty campaigner who visited
Chan and Sukumaran in Indonesia last week, told the crowd Indonesia
would be “killing an artist and a church pastor” if they executed the
men.
More than 200 people also gathered in Brisbane’s King George
Square to hear members of the Queensland legal community voice their
opposition to the planned executions.
Artist and friend of
Sukumaran, Ben Quilty, said a church vigil in Sydney’s west was also
filling up with people, while another vigil was being held in Perth.
“I wish Myuran could be here to see it,” Mr Quilty told AAP.
“Right in the homeland of where the boys grew up.”
Mr Quilty was joined at the vigil by broadcasters Alan Jones and the Rev Bill Crews, as well as Chan family representatives.
Chan
and Sukumaran’s scheduled transfer to the island prison of
Nusakambangan for execution was delayed on Tuesday so authorities can
build extra holding cells.
People have taken to social media to voice their disapproval, using the hashtag #IStandForMercy.

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