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article imageAustralia offers to cover imprisonment costs for Bali 9 duo

By Sravanth Verma     Mar 12, 2015 in World
Jakarta - The Australian government has offered to cover the cost of life imprisonment for the two convicted Australians, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, of the Bali Nine gang.
Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made the offer to the Indonesian Foreign Minister last week, while she also offered a prisoner swap with three Indonesian prisoners in Australia. Chan and Sukumaran have been convicted of an attempt to smuggle 8.3 kilograms (18lb) of heroin from Bali into Australia in 2005, and are facing the death penalty.
In her letter to the Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, Bishop said that her government would cover the cost of life imprisonment for the two. She also noted in her letter that the three Indonesian prisoners she was referring to in her swap offer, had attempted to import 390 kilograms of heroin to Australia, which was "47 times the amount Mr Chan, Mr Sukumaran, and their co-convicted tried to smuggle".
The Australian government's efforts have been ineffective so far, with the two prisoners being transferred to Indonesia's so-called "execution island" of Nusakambangan. Six members of the Bali 9 gang have already been executed.
Bishop noted in her letter, "The vast majority of Australians very strongly support the government's efforts to seek clemency for Chan and Sukumaran. We would not want to see their execution compromise the strong ties we have worked so hard to foster over many years."
The Indonesian government has rebuffed the offer however, with Marsudi writing in response, "Let me reiterate that there is no legal basis within the Indonesian law that would allow for such an exchange to take place. The president is of the position that such an exchange cannot be undertaken."
Australian Prime Minister Abbot's pleas have also fallen of deaf ears, as have those of Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, the Grand Mufti of Australia, who met with Indonesia's religious affairs minister Lukman Saifuddin.
Chan and Sukumaran have repeatedly appealed against their sentences and say they are reformed characters - Chan teaches Bible and cookery classes in prison while Sukumaran is an artist.
More about bali 9, Drug smuggling, Heroin
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