Bali Nine members’ desperate plea
Two members of the Bali Nine have appealed to the Indonesian authorities to slash their life sentences to 20 years each.
Australians Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen are making their ninth application for clemency, which if approved, could see to two men walk free from jail in Indonesia in 2025. Previous requests remained ignored.
Norman, who at 18 was the youngest Bali Nine drug smuggling member, and Chen were naive teenagers when they became ensnared into the doomed 2005 plot to move 8.3kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.
The young men, along with co-conspirator Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, were arrested in the cheap Melasti Hotel in Kuta with a suitcase containing 334 grams of heroin.
The applications from the two long-time residents of Bali's infamous Kerobokan jail are supported by the head of Bali's regional corrections division Mr Suprapto.
"This is the ninth request so people who read it might feel pity when they consider the application and are making a decision. If someone has asked for forgiveness several times, do you not forgive him?" Mr Suprapto said.
The appeal by the pair, who enjoyed childhoods in Sydney's west, has been forwarded to the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights where it will be reviewed and submitted to the co-ordinating Ministry for Political, Legal, and Security Affairs.
It will then go to the Ministry of State Secretariat, where President Joko Widodo will decide its' the fate.
Earlier this year, Renae Lawrence, who served 13 years for the plot in Bali's Bangli jail before being released in 2018, implored the Indonesian president during his trip to Australia to deliver clemency to the remaining five Bali Nine members behind bars.
"We can only help to submit an application and make recommendations, but the decision remains with the president," Mr Suprapto said.
Norman, who turns 34 in September, and Chen, 35, are active in the prison community. Norman teaches English and crafting while and Chen is engaged in silversmithing. Both are liked by many guards.
Mr Yulius Sahruzah, a warden at Kerobokan jail, said Norman and Chen are both worthy of sentence reductions.
"In my opinion, Norman and Si Yi Chen deserve to receive reduced sentences. Both have been sentenced to a minimum of five years as one of the requirements. Both are active in various activities in prison. Norman has been actively teaching English courses and is a screen-printing instructor at the 'bengkel kerja' (workshop). Si Yi Chen became an instructor in silver crafts. Both are also active in church activities," Mr Sahruzah said.
He told News Corp that neither Norman or Chen have never had an answer to previous applications for clemency.
Three other Bali Nine members who remain in jail on the island include Michael Czugaj, Martin Stephens and Scott Rush who last December sent an emotion letter begging for forgiveness from the authorities and to have his sentence cut to 20 years.
Originally published as Bali Nine members' desperate plea