News

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

Recommended Reading




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

THE EXPERT: Stop judging working mothers

SUPER MUMS: Being a working mums comes down to perfecting time management.

"WORKING for money is all right; so is working because you want to.”

OPINION: How to prepare your child for day care

Your kids will love childcare, but it may take some adjusting.

GETTING your child ready for day care is vital.

Health and nutrition with kids - how do you balance it?

HOW important is health and nutrition in your household?

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Technology and kids: Do you ever cut their wi-fi?

Check out our new video series featuring mums having a chat

Joyce slams Grafton Hospital cuts claim: ‘It’s BS’

Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce reacts as he visits Macadamia Processing Cooperative with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull near Ballina in the seat of Page, Friday, June 17, 2016. Jobs will again be the focus as Malcolm Turnbull heads to the NSW north coast, but this time with a $25 million pledge. The coalition hopes the $25 million investment will give businesses incentives to invest and help boost employment in the region. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch) NO ARCHIVING

Deputy PM's frustration at wild campaign assertions

'My husband lasted 6 weeks as a stay at home dad'

APN Hey Mummy Feature for online - stock images. Katie Dykes being interviewed for the webisodes. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

FROM the outside, being a stay at home mum looks like a breeze.

No-fuss Samsung tablet a winner for kids and commuters

Get this Samsung tablet for FREE with a local news subscription.

THIS is one handy addition to your device line-up.

Latest deals and offers

Vivid timelapse

Screenshot from timelapse of Sydney's Vivid Festival

This timelapse shows Sydney's Vivid Festival

Nationals announce $10m for truck washes

The National party brought state and federal representatives to announce a joint...

Bowen Therapy

No Caption

An introduction to the Bowen technique.

PROPERTY BOOM: Coast prices set to skyrocket

Like other areas in south-east Queensland, the Sunshine Coast is at the start of the upturn on the property clock.

Values predicted to rise 25-33%

DIY: How to build a backyard fire pit

DIY stars and Weekend magazine columnists Ayden and Jess Hogan.

Would you build this for your backyard?