Grand Mufti pleads for Bali Nine



Australia’s most senior Islamic cleric has arrived in the Indonesian capital to plead for the lives of two Australian death row prisoners to be spared.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, members of the so-called Bali Nine heroin trafficking group, are listed for execution after president Joko Widodo denied them clemency.

Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, the Grand Mufti of Australia, met with Indonesia’s religious affairs minister Lukman Saifuddin urging the Indonesian government to show mercy.

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He was accompanied in Jakarta by two Indonesian-born Australian clerics.

Last month Dr Mohammad expressed his concern for the two Australians at a joint media conference with Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher.

“By all accounts Andrew and Myuran have come to appreciate clearly the gravity of their crimes,” Dr Mohammad said at the time.


Australia’s Grand Mufti Professor Ibrahim Mohamed (L) meets Indonesia’s religious affairs minister Lukman Saifuddin to urge clemency for the Bali Nine duo. Photo: ABC

These Sydney-born men have had a long time to think about what they have done while in Kerobokan prison and on death row.”

Dr Mohammad said mercy and forgiveness were at the heart of Islam.

The clerics’ call for clemency comes after Virgin founder Richard Branson wrote to Mr Widodo, saying the impending executions for drug convicts was a barbaric and inhuman form of punishment.

“What we have learned is that treating drugs as a health issue – not as a criminal issue – it actually helps lower the number of drug deaths,” he told ABC.

“It limits the spread of infectious diseases like HIV and AIDS or hepatitis C, it reduces drug-related crime, and it allows people who struggle with addiction to become useful members of society again.

“We would love to be able to show the Indonesian government how countries like Portugal and others have completely overcome their drug problem by taking a very, very different approach.”

Sir Richard said he was prepared to travel to Indonesia immediately to put his case to the government.

Meanwhile, the families of the two condemned Australians have made their second visit to Nusakambangan, ahead of Thursday’s crucial legal challenge to their death penalty.

They have made another plea to spare the prisoners lives.

“All we ask is that they be allowed to spend the rest of their lives in prison and not be executed,” he said.

“Our family remains hopeful that the president will get to see how much Myuran and Andrew have done inside the prison to help the Indonesian people.”

About 90 per cent of Indonesia’s 250 million citizens identify as followers of Islam, making it the world’s most populous majority Muslim country.


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