Grafton man shocked by Bali Nine execution plans

SHOCKED: Grafton man John Hickson has visited members of the Bali Nine in jail. Photo Debrah Novak
SHOCKED: Grafton man John Hickson has visited members of the Bali Nine in jail. Photo Debrah Novak

GRAFTON man John Hickson's weekend went from bad to worse when he heard Indonesian authorities are preparing to this week execute Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Mr Hickson, who has visited Kerobokan Prison on Bali since 2008 and met both men several times, was shocked by the news.

"The Australian embassy officials have been called into a meeting in Jakarta on Monday," he said. "In the past when they've executed foreigners, they call the embassy officials in to tell them what's happening and three days later, they carry it out."

Mr Hickson said the barbarity of executing two men who have been suffering mental anguish on death row for 10 years is hard to take.

"They've done the crime and they've done enough time," Mr Hickson said.

"They've been through hell for 10 years and now they're going to be executed because a new president (Joko Widodo) won't give them clemency."

Mr Hickson suspects the executions of drug smugglers in Indonesia are being carried out for domestic political consumption.

They are both very nice young men, very sincere and polite. When you meet them they always ask how you are going and how's your family.

Mr Hickson said the work that Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran are doing with their fellow inmates while in jail is remarkable and should be a blueprint for rehabilitating prisoners.

"When I met them, we didn't talk for long because they were always wanting to get back to what they were doing with prisoners," he said.

"It's such a waste. I'm sure they could be doing this sort of thing with the art and religious work in other prisons.

"They are both very nice young men, very sincere and polite. When you meet them they always ask how you are going and how's your family."

Mr Hickson and friend Graeme Kelly began visiting the prison almost by accident.

"We had gone over to help out the Christian orphanage over there, In the Arms of Love," he said.

"We were going past the prison one day and saw about 200 people outside waiting to go in so we decided to go in and see what we could do to help the prisoners."

The pair spoke to an Australian wearing an Akubra hat. The man was Lee Rush, whose son Scott who was among the Bali Nine members convicted of drug trafficking.

"He told us what to do and cleared it with the right people so we could visit people in the jail," Mr Hickson said.

Since then the men have visited the island two or three times a year working with the orphanage and the prisoners.

They have also visited Renae Lawrence and Martin Stephens who were also jailed as part of the Bali Nine group. They also spoke with fellow Australian Schapelle Corby before her release from the prison last year after being convicted of drug smuggling.

"I think they had some hope when Schapelle was pardoned," Mr Hickson said.

"Now is has become too horrible to think about."

Topics:  bali nine editors picks execution grafton kerobokan prison

Family's new arrival in face of tragedy

NEW ARRIVAL: The husband of the late Jodie Spears, James Spears, looks on with his sisters-in-law Mel Small and Kylie Murdoch with Mel's new baby Brodie. Jodie Spears passed away the night before her sister gave birth.

Date set for the funeral of crash victim Jodie Spears

Meet the faces behind the highway upgrade: PT I

Communications Adviser for Pacific Complete Colleen Catterson

Colleen Catterson - from Ireland to the Clarence Valley

REVEALED: Construction timeline for new Grafton bridge

Houses to be demolished before the end of the year

Local Partners

Meet the faces behind the highway upgrade: PT I

MEET communications advisor Colleen Catterson in the first part of the DEX's new series introducing people who have moved to the region due to the highway.

The Saraton: More than just a picture theatre

Iconic theatre still lighting up lives 90 years on

9 Things To Do this weekend

TAKING TO THE WATER: Paddlers kick off the third stage in last year's Clarence 100.

Paddlers on the river from Copmanhurst to Yamba

Dragging rights for billycart veterans

BUILT FOR SPEED: John Kliendienst of Grafton enjoys working on a cart for the Jacaranda Derby.

Jacaranda Billy Cart Derby up to speed

Cathriona White's mother claims to have Jim Carrey's results

Jim Carrey and late ex-girlfriend Cathriona White

SHE claims Carrey exposed White to herpes, chlamydia, Hepatitis A

The Koi Boys are back with more covers and original songs

Former Voice contestants The Koi Boys have signed with Universal Music.

THE Voice favourites release their debut album today.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E10 - hometown visits

Georgia Love in a scene from season two episode 10 of The Bachelorette.

Georgia meets the families of her four beaus tonight.

The Bachelorette: Courtney too slow for Georgia's love train

Courtney Dober in a scene from The Bachelorette.

FORMER favourite eliminated after introducing Georgia to his family.

Three legendary tribute bands in one big night

TRIPLE TREAT: Don't miss this tribute to legendary Aussie rock bands Midnight Oil, The Angels and The Divinyls at the Grafton District Services Club on Saturday night.

Three of your favourite Aussie rock bands will play at the GDSC

Country Music Muster takes over Clarence

READY TO ROLL: Adam Harvey will headline the list of performers at this year's Clarence Valley Country Muster.

Get ready for a week of country music

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb breaching lease

Rental properties.

Tenants renting rooms on Airbnb is a no no

First home buyers smash avo-on-toast excuse

TOASTED: A Coast real estate identity and first home buyers say young people should not put home ownership in the "too hard” basket and eat out instead.

Determined first home buyers can get into market