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Bali sentences stoke tensions with Indonesia CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA) - Australia was last night bracing itself for more tension with Indonesia following the death sentences handed down to two Bali Nine ringleaders and the life sentences that will possibly see the other ring members die in Indonesian jails. Andrew Chan, 22, and Myuran Sukumaran, 24, were convicted of drug smuggling at Denpasar District Court and face death by firing squad unless they launch a successful appeal or are granted a presidential pardon.

With the toughening of Jakarta's crackdown on drug smuggling and its rigid zero tolerance policy, neither option is regarded as likely. This prospect is reinforced by the judge's decision to impose life sentences on drug mules Renee Lawrence, 28, and Scott Rush, 20, instead of prosecution calls for 20-year terms. Drug mules Martin Stephens, 29, and Michael Czugaj, 20, were also sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday.

The remaining accused - Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Van Nguyen - will be sentenced today. The ring tried to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin to Australia through Bali last April, with the drugs strapped to the bodies of the four mules. The death sentences are likely to inflame outrage in Australia, where anger and condemnation of the Indonesian justice system over the 20-year term imposed on Gold Cost cannabis smuggler Schapelle Corby strained relations between Jakarta and Canberra.

During Corby's trial and the aftermath Australian fury was attacked by Indonesia as interference in its domestic affairs. Australia further rubbed Asian nerves with public anger and vain official appeals for clemency after Singapore last December hanged another Australian heroin smuggler, Thai-born Van Tuong Nguyen. Although careful not to condone drug traffickers, major Australian newspapers yesterday expressed shock at the severity of the life terms handed down on Lawrence and Rush, with headlines declaring "No mercy" above pictures of a tearful Lawrence.

Prime Minister John Howard said yesterday that Canberra would adhere to its long-standing opposition to the death penalty and ask Jakarta to commute the sentences. In Parliament, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said Canberra's embassy in Jakarta had already made appeals for mercy, following two earlier direct approaches to the Indonesian Attorney-General by Australian counterpart, Philip Ruddock, and Justice Minister Chris Ellison.

"We will always make representations on behalf of Australian citizens given the death penalty," Downer said. "We will always seek clemency of their behalf." But he warned yesterday that Canberra could do little to reduce the risk that drug traffickers ran. "These cases of course are tragic and it is a stark, very hard, reminder to people that trafficking drugs is a very serious offence," he said. "In Asia it brings extremely severe penalties - sometimes including the death penalty."

In a December letter to the Indonesian Attorney-General, Downer said he "noted that we fully respected Indonesia's courts, the independence of those courts, and the sovereign right of Indonesia to impose strong penalties against drug traffickers." For the Bali Nine ring members serving life sentences, Downer could offer only the promise of regular visits by consular officials and the possibility of a new prisoner exchange agreement that could see them serving their time in an Australian prison.

But he warned that talks were at an early stage, and said it took five years to reach a similar deal with Thailand. Downer also gave no guarantees that even if an agreement was negotiated, the surviving members of the Bali Nine would be sent home. "What implications such an agreement would have for people currently in jail in Indonesia, we don't know.".


Related blog entries (category 'Drugs') Related blog entries (category 'Drugs'):
14 February 2006 · Firing squad for two Australian drug smugglers
30 January 2006 · Drug trial for young Australian postponed
27 January 2006 · Prosecutors demand second death penalty for 'Bali Nine'
19 January 2006 · Indonesia reinstates smuggler's sentence
06 January 2006 · Indonesia expects death penalty backlash


Posted in Drugs @ 15 February 2006 09:05 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





Lucifer
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It pleases me that Indonesia won't be breaking tradition with the executions of the 2 ringleaders. I simply could'nt imagine an Indonesian soldier/law enforcement officer firing a weapon at anyone unless unarmed. As I recall they were very brave in East Timor until the arrival of the Australian Army where upon they smashed everything they could in a final act of juvinile defiance. How would you like to have this rabble in your trenches in a time of need. They probably would have pissed off at the first sign of the enemy anyway.



AnisJ
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User icon of AnisJ
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(Edited) Posted @ 15 February 2006 15:33

'Lucifer' yth.,

'How tough is one able to be ............ !!!'
According the CIA handbook, INDOnesia has an internal drug production ......
so who is hypocritical ....... although estimated (political reasons ???)'



123jon
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>>>'How tough is one able to be ............ !!!'
According the CIA handbook, INDOnesia has an internal drug production ......
so who is hypocritical ....... although estimated (political reasons ???)'<<<

Perhaps it has something to do with "Monopoly".





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