Australian Bali Nine inmate Myuran Sukumaran Andrew Chan, who has been sentenced to execution by firing squad for drug trafficking.
Australian Bali Nine inmate Myuran Sukumaran Andrew Chan, who has been sentenced to execution by firing squad for drug trafficking.

Spare them this barbaric death

DOZENS of prominent Sunshine Coast identities are leading a local campaign for mercy for condemned drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

More than 80 community leaders put their names to a letter calling for a stay of execution for the two men, who are on death row in Bali.

A public vigil will be held at Cotton Tree on Wednesday evening for members of the public who also wish to show their support for the two men.

The demonstrations of support have been driven by Coast businessman Peter Shadforth and a small group of "movers and shakers".

Tom Hulett.
Tom Hulett.

Mr Shadforth said he did not condone the crime that landed Chan and Sukumaran in trouble, but he also could not condone their execution.

"It's not right. It's not right what they did, either. But I'm opposed to the death penalty and if you follow the story, they've done a lot to rehabilitate themselves," he said.

Mr Shadforth felt he could not live with himself if he did not do something to support the men.

"If you don't make a move and wake up one morning and find out they've been shot, you are going to feel sick to the stomach."

He said the men should be punished, but not by death.

"I'm totally opposed to what they did and they've got to serve their sentences out," he said.

"If they had sentences of 20 years, I wouldn't be on a committee to get them out, put it that way.

"I think they've got to pay for what they did, but the thought of them being slaughtered by 10 or 16 shooters each is a bit much."

Maroochydore Surf Life Saving Club president Tim Ryan, who has been involved in the letter and vigil, said he hoped the acts would encourage other people to think about the men's situation.

Peter Shadforth.
Peter Shadforth.

"It just shows you, doesn't it, what can be achieved," he said.

Former Maroochy Shire councillor Tom Hulett, who drafted the letter, said executing Chan and Sukumaran would not take into account their reformation and rehabilitation.

MIX FM radio announcer Caroline Hutchinson said the acts of support might not save Chan and Sukumaran, but every show of peace and compassion would help.

"All we're trying to do is put up our hands and say they are people who care about these boys."

Wednesday night's vigil will be held in Cotton Tree Park, next to the swimming pool, for about an hour.

People are asked to meet at 5.45pm for a 6pm start, and bring a candle.

Speakers will include Pastors Benny and Sharon Tan, who recently visited Chan and Sukumaran in prison, and a human rights lawyer.

The open letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo

OPEN letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo and to our fellow citizens of the Sunshine Coast:

As law-abiding citizens of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, we make a peaceful and powerful stand for mercy, respectfully urging you, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, to stay the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Others better versed in the law have put their case - rationally and comprehensively. Those with strong passions against the death penalty on human rights grounds have argued eloquently.

Our response is more heartfelt. We believe in mercy, rehabilitation, reformation and humane punishment.

Your own prison governor has confirmed that these two young Australians are markedly reformed and are now productive, even model members of your prison. How better than to allow them to continue to help fellow prisoners reform and to devote their lives to the betterment of your citizens in prison.

Mr President, you were elected on a platform of peace, democracy and compassion in your country. We ask you to demonstrate that in this case.

Keep Hope Alive!


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