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‘Last ditch’ vigil seeks to save Bali Nine duo

Desperate appeal: Peter Arndt addresses the Keep Hope Alive Vigil in St Stephen’s Cathedral precinct.

Desperate appeal: Peter Arndt addresses the Keep Hope Alive Vigil in St Stephen’s Cathedral precinct.

By Paul Dobbyn

“IT’S never too late” was the message given in a vigil last Monday morning in the grounds of Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral for condemned Bali Nine drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

The Keep Hope Alive Vigil, organised by Amnesty International and Australians Against Capital Punishment, was one of several held in capital cities around Australia to protest against the Indonesian Government’s plans to go ahead with the execution.

Brisbane archdiocese’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt was among speakers at the gathering.

He said the commission’s monthly death penalty vigil was to be held on Tuesday, April 28, at 7pm at Christ the King Church, Graceville.

“Please join us to pray for Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and others facing execution in Indonesia within the next day,” Mr Arndt said.

“As people of faith and hope, let us pray together to the God of life that mercy will fill the hearts of Indonesian authorities.”

By a grim coincidence, the two Australian men are expected to be executed by firing squad on Nusakambangan Island around midnight on April 28.

Amnesty International Queensland branch president Paul Toner told media gathered in the grounds of St Stephen’s Cathedral on April 27 the vigil was “a last-ditch effort”.

“Because we’ve only had 72 hours notice of the executions it’s all a bit ad hoc,” he said.

“However, as long as there’s breath in those people, there’s still hope.

“It’s never too late for (Indonesian President) Joko Widodo to grant clemency – he can do it any time.”

On Tuesday night, candles were lit and paintings of the men were carried by about 50 supporters outside the Indonesian consulate in Sydney.

About 10,000 flowers were used to spell out “Keep Hope Alive” on a hill overlooking the harbour, at an event organised by Amnesty International.

Meanwhile, one of the condemned men Andrew Chan was reported to have married his fiancée Febyanti Herewila at Besi Prison on Nusakambangan Island in the brief time left to him before his execution.

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