Last updated: September 23, 2010

Bali Nine ringleaders beg forgiveness

BALI Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have begged for forgiveness and a second chance at life from an Indonesian court.

Speaking in Indonesian, both men today told the Denpasar District Court of their deep remorse for their roles in the 2005 attempt to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.

Chan, 26, and Sukumaran, 29, were two of nine Australians convicted over the plot and are now on death row.

This appeal, which seeks to have their sentences reduced to 20 years jail, is their last legal avenue to avoid the firing squad.

Chan thanked the court for giving him the opportunity to ask for forgiveness.

"It's important to me that I can say how sorry I am for my past behaviour," he said. "I understand now how drugs ruin lives."

Chan apologised for pleading not guilty at his trial and earlier appeals.

"I stupidly thought I could walk free, without punishment, despite the crime I had committed," he said.

Chan spoke of his efforts to rehabilitate and help others inside Bali's Kerobokan Prison learn new skills.

"I am doing these things to help others and because I believe I have a purpose in life, not just to be held in prison and then executed," he said. "I accept that I deserve to be punished for my crime but I beg the court that I not be executed.

"I hope I am given another chance in life."

Sukumaran said he accepted he had committed a crime and deserved to be punished.

"Five years ago I could not have said those words," he said. "I now realise that before I was arrested I was thoughtless and ignorant.

"Before I was arrested I had no idea how harmful my drug crime would be.

"I did not think about the impact, I did not know any drug addicts and I never thought seriously about the consequences of my actions."

Sukumaran said he was "truly, deeply sorry" for his actions.

"From the bottom of my heart I can honestly say I am now a different person and a reformed person."

If their judicial review fails they will be left with just one last unlikely chance for survival: clemency from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

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