Rush said he understood that his son, Scott, had been transferred to the tower in recent days. “That is correct, death row." He had been told it was an area with minimum facilities where few privileges were granted.
M. Rifan, a lawyer representing other members of the Bali Nine sentenced to death, said he could not confirm whether his clients had yet been shifted to the tower but said it was inevitable. “Kerobokan has procedures and we can do nothing about that,” he said.
While relocation to the tower does not mean the executions are imminent, the move will surely play heavily on the minds of Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran, Scott Rush, Tan Duc Than Nguyen, Si Yi Chen and Matthew Norman. The young men will be isolated from the prison population and occupy the same cells that held the most senior of the Bali bombers before they were shifted to a prison island off Java.
Lee Rush said he had now met Prime Minister John Howard, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer and, on two occasions, had talked face-to-face with Attorney-General Philip Ruddock.
He said Howard had told him that the governments of Australia and Indonesia were not able to make any promises about his son’s life.
The meetings were designed “virtually to put the face of the parents in front of the politicians who are running this country”, Rush said. The more recent meeting with Ruddock was a fortnight ago when Ruddock had reaffirmed that he did not support the death penalty and would do all that was possible to assist.
But Rush feared Howard was maintaining an uncompromising line on the Bali Nine and that was reflected in the thinking of his senior ministers. Rush wants Australia to make representations to the Indonesians for clemency but the government’s view is that they must wait until the appeal process is finalised. Part of the assistance offered to Rush was funding a Darwin barrister, Colin McDonald, QC, to travel to Indonesia to assist Indonesian lawyers mount a constitutional appeal on Scott Rush’s behalf.
McDonald said the basis of the Rush challenge would be to look at Article 28A of the Indonesian Constitution, which states that every person has an inherent right to life. The lawyers will argue that this strongly implies the state does not have the right to take a life.
The hope was that the recently formed Constitutional Court would rule that Indonesian laws which provide for the death penalty were therefore invalid. If successful, this would provide a flow-on benefit to the other five Bali Nine on death row and, indeed, to all people facing execution within Indonesia.