INDONESIAN President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has slashed the life sentence of a convicted French drug smuggler, heralding a major policy shift with enormous implications for the death-row members of the Bali Nine heroin smuggling gang. Australian traffickers Scott Rush, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan now stand a real chance of having their death sentences overturned, after Frenchman Michael Loic Blanc, 34, won a downgrading of his jail term to just 20 years.
Australians Against Capital Punishment welcome this decision of the Indonesia Supreme Court.
Our heartfelt thanks go out to everyone involved in the campaign during the past years.
From the ABC –
Scott Rush escapes death penalty
By Indonesia correspondent Matt Brown, wires
Bali Nine drug smuggler Scott Rush has been spared the death penalty by a court in Indonesia.
Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd confirmed the decision in Parliament, saying Rush’s appeal against the death sentence had been successful.
Three Supreme Court judges reviewed the case and cut the death penalty back to life in prison.
Rush, 24, had been facing the death penalty for his part in a 2005 plot to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.
It is understood the Supreme Court has granted his appeal on the basis that he had shown remorse for his actions, while also citing his age at the time as a mitigating factor.
Full story here.
On Sunday’s Dateline, two of the Bali Nine speak publicly for the first time… just days ahead of final hearings on whether their death sentences for drug trafficking will be carried out.
Mark Davis has gained exclusive access to Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in the ‘death tower’ at Indonesia’s Kerobokan Prison.
They talk openly about their lives then and now, what they think of their crimes, and the prospect of facing death by firing squad.
Mark also hears first-hand of the heartache for their families back in Australia, as they wait to hear if their pleas for clemency will be granted.
WATCH – See this special edition of Dateline on Sunday at 8.30pm on SBS ONE.
LIVE CHAT – Mark Davis will be online after Sunday’s program to answer questions about his story. Click here to find out how to take part in our live chat.
For more information, go to the Dateline homepage, or tune in on Sunday at 8.30pm
By Indonesia correspondent Matt Brown
Former Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Mick Keelty has testified Scott Rush was only a minor player in the drug smuggling ring that landed him on death row in Indonesia.
Rush was one of four Australians among the so-called Bali Nine arrested for trying to smuggle heroin through Denpasar Airport in 2005.
His parents looked on today as Mr Keelty told the court hearing Rush’s final appeal against execution that he was not on the AFP’s radar before that fateful drug run.
“He did not know or understand, in my opinion, what the roles of the other people were,” Mr Keelty said.
“His role was a very minimal one.”
Full article here.
By Matt Brown for Correspondents Report
Bali Nine drug smuggler Scott Rush launched his last court appeal against the death penalty in Bali last week.
His argument rests on the fact he was not a major player in the ring and, therefore, does not deserve to die.
ABC Indonesia correspondent Matt Brown was in the court and found himself thinking about the lives he has seen lost and past court-ordered executions.
Full story at the ABC here.
Everyone from AACP sends their best wishes to Scott’s family and the families of all those facing execution around the world.
From the ABC:
“Convicted Bali Nine drug smuggler Scott Rush is set to launch his final appeal against a death sentence, as other Australian drug smugglers receive small cuts to their 20-year jail terms.”
GREG ROBERTS October 10, 2009 – 3:04PM
Anyone who thinks the death penalty does not affect Australians need only look next door to Bali, where three Australians are on death row, a rally has heard.
The death penalty should be outlawed around the world as slavery and child labour have been, the Melbourne rally heard on Saturday, the seventh World Day Against the Death Penalty.
An estimated 2,000 people heard barrister Julian Burnside, who is representing two convicted Australian drug traffickers in Bali, say capital punishment is "state sanctioned violence".
"Execution is premeditated, ritualised, state-sanctioned violence by brutalised societies," he told AAP.
"There is no crime no matter how terrible that could not be properly punished by decades in a cell." Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Jakarta correspondent | March 21, 2009
November 17, 2008 10:52am
THREE members of the Bali Nine have been placed on an Indonesian execution list, with authorities insisting no mercy will be shown.
Convicted drug traffickers Andrew Chan, 24, Myuran Sukumaran, 27 and Scott Rush, 22, are on a list of 92 death row convicts who the Indonesian Attorney General’s Office insist will be put to death.
The trio are facing the death penalty for their roles in an ill-fated attempt to smuggle 8kg of heroin from Bali to Australia in 2005.
“The death sentences of the 92 convicts have been declared legally binding and are pending administrative procedures (before they are carried out),” assistant attorney general Abdul Hakim Ritonga told the Jakarta Post.