by Allanah Leahy – EM TV Online
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has proposed a prisoner swap with the Indonesian government in a last minute attempt to save two Australians on death row.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are to face death by firing squad despite desperate, tense attempts from the Australian government to save their lives.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott spoke of standing up for Australia’s values and citizens.
“We do stand up for our values, we respect Indonesia, we honour the friendship that we have with Indonesia, but we do stand up for our values and we do stand up for our citizens and these are Australian citizens in extremist.”
The pair were sentenced to death in 2006 for allegedly leading smuggling group, the “Bali Nine” to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin from Indonesia to Australia with a street value of over K8 million.
The prisoners were recently transferred to prison island, Nusa Kambangan, where they will be executed.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop sought out an agreement with her counterpart, Retno Marsudi, on a prisoner swap.
“What we are seeking to do is have an opportunity to talk about options that might be available in the area of prisoner transfer or prisoner swap. Absolutely no details but we are seeking an opportunity to explore every option that might be available to us, every avenue that might be available to save the lives of these two men,” Bishop said.
At a candlelit vigil held yesterday morning, Bishop described the prisoners’ rehabilitation under the Indonesian prison system as a positive, and assured of the government’s attempts to explore every possible option.
“They have been rehabilitated in the most remarkable way and it is to the credit of the Indonesian prison system that two men who were convicted of the most serious of crimes have indeed been rehabilitated, they are changed men and they are making a positive contribution to the life of others who are seeking to be rehabilitated in the Indonesian prison system.”
Indonesian foreign ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir expressed doubt and uncertainty to the AFP regarding the prisoner swap, saying Indonesia’s legal system does not have such processes available.