Urgent prayer request from Australia from Milton Gillie, reach more now’s correspondent in Australia
An interesting thing has happened here in Australia. There is an issue that unites just about every politician and pretty much all Australians. I have not personally heard a single dissenting voice to the issue at hand which now grows imminently urgent.
It concerns two young Australian men, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who are about to be executed in Indonesia. Nearly 10 years ago they were the ring leaders of nine Australians who were caught trying to smuggle drugs out of Indonesia into Australia. As the ring leaders they were sentenced to death and the other seven given long prison sentences. They have lived on death row since then.
When their sentences were handed down there was not a lot of sympathy for their predicament given their stupid folly and the damage that drugs do in our society. However something remarkable has happened to both of them in the last decade. They have both been totally rehabilitated. The amount of media coverage here in Australia on them leaves you with no doubt that it is real.
Andrew has become a born again Christian and is studying to be a minister at Harvest Bible College where I studied when I was at the Dandenong church pastored by Alun Davies. He has become a pastor to many other prisoners in the prison. Even a few weeks ago an article in our national newspaper described how after receiving notice of their execution being immanent he was ministering to another prisoner who was in distress, which the reporter noted that he had more concern for the welfare of others than himself.
Such is his standing in the prison that other prisoners have offered to die in his place, and for Myuran as well. While I have seen no indication that Myuran has become a Christian, he has become a model prisoner too. He has learned to paint and has been teaching other prisoners to paint as well. The change in him is also remarkable.
The prison warden doesn’t want them executed, nor does the governor of the province, but neither has the power to stop the execution.
They have gone through all the appeal process in theory although there is still a legal avenue being pursued at the moment. The reason why all Australians are against this penalty being carried out is not only the remarkable rehabilitation but the perceived hypocrisy of the legal process. The following has emerged relating to the case
1. Allegations that the original judges asked for bribes from their legal team to reduce their sentences during their trials.
2. One of the appeal judges who refused their appeal application, was found to have lied and falsified documents in another case regarding an Indonesian in court overseas (most likely for a bribe), which resulted in a lighter sentence. He was subsequently sacked. Yet his decision was never reviewed and was left to stand.
3. In September 2002 a terrorist group linked to Al-qaeda set off bombs in Bali that killed 202 people including 89 Australians and left many more scarred from burns and grieving over lost loved ones. They tracked down those responsible and jailed them. None of them showed remorse for their crimes and even gloated in court about it. But the sentences they gave for those crimes were in some cases less than the drug smugglers. In fact only a couple of weeks ago they let the person who made the bombs out of jail to go free.
4. The final appeal is to the country’s president for clemency. He is supposed to consider their rehabilitation and decide whether their sentence should be changed or reduced. When the appeal came the information on their conduct in prison did not go with it. Not that he would have taken any notice according to reports, he simply gives a blanket rejection of all appeals. This is a violation of Indonesian law according to a retired Indonesian High Court judge.
5. Their crime was not actually against Indonesia but Australia as they were trying to bring the drugs here.
It can be seen that Indonesia’s system is based upon legalism with out any form of grace. The president argues that he must remain tough on drugs. This is simply to appease local voters and nothing else. Many in Indonesia argue that by carrying out these executions, it will actually deter others from rehabilitating.
As of this morning they have been removed from the main prison and taken to an Island prison where they will be given 72 hours notice of execution by firing squad. It will most likely happen this coming weekend. At this point only God can save them. All human endeavors have failed.
No other executions have ever gripped the nations like these, and a few other have happened in neighboring countries in the last few years. We know God is sovereign and things like this test our faith and belief like nothing else. Please pray for both these men.
Urgent prayer request from Australia
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