Saturday, 14 August 2010

Bali appeals with Indonesian court

Two Bali Nine convicts lodge death sentence appeals
Desy Nurhayati, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar
Sat, 08/14/2010 9:46 AM

Two Australian drug convicts on death row have formally launched final appeals on Friday, seeking to have their sentences commuted to 20 years in prison.

Attorneys for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, members of the so-called "Bali Nine" syndicate of heroin smugglers, lodged the appeal to the Supreme Court via the Denpasar District Court.

Attorneys Todung Mulya Lubis said the appeal was not filed on the basis of new evidence, but due to a misapplication of the law by the judges.

"We filed the appeal as we consider this case violates the right to life. It is a basic right guaranteed in our Constitution," he said, adding that the death sentence would not discourage people from committing crimes and violated human rights.

He said that according to the UN, the death penalty should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, which excludes drug-related crimes.

"It's true they should be punished, but they don't deserve the death penalty. We are seeking to have it reduced to a 20-year prison term."

Chan, 26, and Sukumaran, 29, were convicted for an attempt in 2005 to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.

In the appeal, both argue that they had been successfully rehabilitated and were now teachers and role models for fellow inmates at Kerobokan Prison.

"The judges should take into consideration that both convicts have changed a lot. They teach their fellow inmates skills such as operating computers and painting."

The appeal also argues that previous rulings against the pair erred by finding them guilty of exporting drugs. It said the pair should have been given more lenient sentences because while they attempted to export the drugs, they did not succeed in doing so.

"Technically speaking, there was no export of the drugs. An attempt to export is not the same as exporting," Todung said. attorneys Nyoman Sudiantara said the pair’s legal team would request that both men be present at the appeals hearing.

Four witnesses will be called to testify at fresh hearings, likely to begin next month. They a prominent Australian psychologist from Monash University Paul Mullen, prominent Ireland-based human rights law expert William Schabas, Kerobokan Prison head Siswanto and former Indonesian Supreme Court justice Yahya Harahap.

Chan and Sukumaran are launching their appeal less than a month after fellow death row inmate Scott Anthony Rush launched his own. If this final appeal fails, the three men will be left with one last chance to avoid the death sentence — clemency from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Five other members of the drug smuggling plot are serving life sentences in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison.

Of the remaining two, Martin Stephens’ judicial review is currently being considered by the Supreme Court, while courier Renae Lawrence is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

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