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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Bali Nine: Two Australian Men Sentenced to Death, seven Australians given life for heroin smuggling

Myuran Sukumaran
Australian Myuran Sukumaran, one of the two the alleged ringleaders of the "Bali Nine" drug ring

The Bali Nine:

-- Myuran Sukumaran, age 24, ringleader, death by a firing squad
-- Andrew Chan, age 22, ringleader, death by a firing squad
-- Renae Lawrence, 28 (only female), of Newcastle, life in prison
-- Scott Rush, 19, of Brisbane, life in prison
-- Michael Czugaj, 20, of Brisbane, life in prison
-- Martin Stephens, 29, life in prison
-- Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 23, of Brisbane, life in prison
-- Si Yi Chen, 20, of Sydney, life in prison
-- Matthew Norman, 19, of Sydney, life in prison

Channel News Asia reported:

Indonesian judges have sentenced two Australians to death for drug trafficking in Bali while four other Australian drug offenders were given life sentences.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, accused of being leaders of the drug smuggling ring, will face death by firing squad.

Renae Lawrence, Scott Rush, Michael Czugaj and Martin Stephens were given life sentences.

The Australian drug traffickers are part of the “Bali Nine." They were arrested after a tip-off from Australian police who chose to inform Indonesian authorities instead of taking them into custody at home.

The case has ignited intense debate in Australia where activists feel that Australian Federal Police were exposing the defendants to the death penalty by giving Indonesian police the tip-off.

Renae Lawrence
Australian Renae Lawrence weeps inside a court's cell after her trial in Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia on Monday, Feb. 13, 2006.

Bloomberg reports:
Feb. 13 -- Australian Renae Lawrence was sentenced to life in jail for trying to smuggle heroin from Bali, as judges disregarded the prosecution's recommendation for a 20-year term.

Lawrence, 28, was the first of the so-called `Bali Nine' to be sentenced in Denpasar District Court. The verdict was televised on Sky News. She was also fined 1 million rupiah ($108).

The nine Australians were arrested on the Indonesian resort island in April 2005 and charged with attempting to smuggle 8 kilograms (18 pounds) of heroin to Australia.

Michael William Czugaj
Michael William Czugaj of Brisbane in the back of a Bali police van.

Myuran Sukumaran
Myuran Sukumaran in court

The execution - by The Age:
THE shots usually ring out at dawn's first light, from an isolated clearing or deserted beach. Indonesia's condemned may suffer an agonising death. Hooded and handcuffed to a chair or post, they wear a white apron with a red cross marking their heart.

Most of the 12 police volunteers, standing less than 10 metres from their targets, will fire blanks to spare their consciences from the certainty they have killed.

The condemned does not always die instantly, requiring a final shot to the heart or temple minutes later. A doctor will attend to pronounce death and the prisoners may request the presence of a priest.

The executions occur unannounced, with police often dispatching decoy convoys to distract relatives or the media. The condemned receive about three days' warning.

update Feb 15th: Last Bali Nine mules jailed for life
The final three members of the Bali Nine have been sentenced to life imprisonment by an Indonesian court.

Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 23, of Brisbane, and Sydney men Si Yi Chen, 20, and Matthew Norman, 19, were found guilty of being part of an operation to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin from Bali to Australia last April.

The young Australians, who had claimed in their trial that they had been "at the wrong place and the wrong time", looked resigned to their fate as they sat before a three-judge panel.

Bali accused: I was recruited in Brisbane nightclub [smh.com, Apr. 29, 2005]
Bali Nine [Wikipedia]