Bishop Bill joins colleagues in call for mercy

Bishop Bill Wright of the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle has expressed his support for an appeal made by Australia’ senior bishop to President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to spare the lives of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. The two men, arrested in April 2005 for trafficking drugs, are facing the death penalty in Kerobokan prison.

President of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, Archbishop Denis Hart has written to His Excellency Joko Widodo and pleaded for the lives of the two Australians.

“I recognise the seriousness of the offences committed in your jurisdiction and the devastating effect of drugs both in Indonesia and Australia. Justice must prevail and appropriate punishment used for the common good of our societies when such crimes are committed. However, we believe that jail sentences, not execution, are more appropriate means of punishing offenders and deterring those who would consider committing such crimes,” wrote Archbishop Hart.

Bishop Bill also voiced his support for clemency:

“Archbishop Hart has based his appeal both on our regard for the sacredness of human life and on the particular consideration that should be given to the evidence of real remorse and change in these two individuals, as seen in their work in drug education programs in prison. Without in any way detracting from the seriousness of the crimes committed or the need for proportionately serious penalties, the Archbishop appeals for imprisonment as an alternative to execution. I support that call in this particular case, as I do in relation to capital punishment in general.”

You can read the full text of the letter from the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference here.

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