Bali Nine ringleaders sentenced to death

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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Denpasar airport, where the nine were arrested

The ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine were today sentenced to death by a Denpasar court. Andrew Chan received the news via translators at about 3:45 p.m. AEDT, and Myuran Sukumaran was sentenced at about 4:50 p.m. AEDT. The two were charged with attempting to smuggle 8.3 kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.

The Australian Federal Police have been criticised for allowing the Bali Nine to travel to Indonesia, where it was known they could face the death penalty. Yesterday two other drug mules, Renae Lawrence and Scott Rush, were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Prosecutors asked for the death penalty for both men. Chan was alleged to be the mastermind of the operation, and Myuran was alleged to be an enforcer. Chan, who claimed to have rediscovered his Christian faith, prayed for divine intervention prior to the sentence being handed down. Outside the court Indonesian protesters shouted "Death! Death!". Chan fell over after jostling with a media scrum, and Sukumaran threw a bottle of water at the media.

Donald Rothwell, a Professor of International Law at the University of Sydney, has said that, unlike countries such as Singapore, it may not be long before the two are executed.

"The Indonesian judicial system is one in which death sentences are often carried out very quickly," he said.

"So unlike the situation of Van Nguyen in Singapore, where an appeal process and a clemency process played out over quite some time, this may not be the situation in Bali."

Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer told parliament today that he had made a direct request to the Indonesian government that the death penalty not be imposed. "On the 18th of December last year, I wrote to the Indonesian Attorney-General reminding him that the Australian Government was opposed to the death sentence and we didn't want to see, in the context of the Bali nine, any of the Australians sentenced to death," he said.

In Bali the death sentence is carried out by firing squad.

Verdicts

  • Renae Lawrence - Life in prison
  • Scott Rush - Life in prison
  • Michael Czugaj - Life in prison
  • Martin Stephens - Life in prison
  • Andrew Chan - Death
  • Myuran Sukumaran - Death

All verdicts are consistent with the recommendations of the Indonesian prosecutors, except for Renae Lawrence. In her case prosecutors requested 20 years imprisonment.

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