Andrew Chan

Indonesia’s struggling economy cannot afford another execution, Bali Nine lawyer warns

Indonesia’s struggling economy could be one reason why there has been little word of the country’s next round of executions, according to the lead lawyer for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Australians Chan and Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine, were among several foreigners shot dead in April.
According to high-profile Indonesian lawyer and professor Todung Mulya Lubis, who has been in Australia to talk about an ongoing campaign against the death penalty, it is too early to say if the economic slowdown was contributing to a de facto moratorium.
“But I believe that Jokowi now realises that he has to pay the price for those two executions,” Professor Lubis said.
Late last year Indonesian president Joko Widodo, also known as Jokowi, said there would be no clemency for more than 60 people convicted of drugs offences, and two rounds of executions were carried out in the early part of 2015.
Indonesia’s economic growth has now dipped below 5 per cent for two consecutive quarters this year, and much needed foreign investment is yet to pour in to help build up the nation’s depleted infrastructure.
“The economy is not good at the moment,” Professor Lubis said.
“We have a problem with our debt, you know, the balance. We have a problem with the weakening of the Indonesian currency.
“We have a problem with declining exports to other countries. And we cannot afford to have another execution, as simple as that.”
The shooting of Chan and Sukumaran and several others, including a Brazilian man with mental health issues, saw substantial international pressure, including from the United Nations, put on the president.
The first round of executions in February resulted in a diplomatic stoush with Brazil, with some Indonesian politicians raising the idea of trade recriminations.
Mr Widodo was also supported domestically for pushing back against what was seen to be international meddling and for taking a strong stance against the drug trade.
Widodo ‘knows new investment is not coming’
In the lead-up to the execution Mr Widodo was quietly advised by some prominent Indonesians of the damage using the death penalty could cause to relations with other countries including Australia, Holland, France and Brazil.
Now, with Indonesia recording its lowest economic growth rate for six years, investors are generally staying on the sidelines, waiting to see if the new government can deliver reforms, including dealing with regulatory certainty.
Professor Lubis is also known for his work with large corporate entities, and said he was seeing first-hand the nervousness in the business community about government policies.
Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, Frenchman Serge Atlaoui
“Jokowi realises, he understands, new investment is not coming to Indonesia,” he said.
“Even the existing investment cannot be maintained. They may go any time.
“And I as a lawyer come across that. I know some of the companies … are considering leaving, so that is not very good.”
“I know some of the companies we work with are considering leaving.”
A Frenchman and a Filipino woman escaped the firing squad in late April, and Indonesia’s attorney-general has signalled a third round of executions has not yet been scheduled.
A 59-year-old British woman is among those facing the death penalty as part of the president’s hardline stance.
Source: ABC News, Helen Brown, August 31, 2015



Bali nine pair bribery claims: investigation ends without key witnesses

August 23, 2015

Indonesian authorities have shut down an investigation into allegations that judges asked for bribes in exchange for more lenient sentences for executed Bali nine pair Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan without interviewing the judges and a key lawyer involved in the case.

Muhammad Rifan, one of the men’sformer lawyers, made the sensational allegations that the judges asked for more than $130,000 for the drug smugglers to be given a prison term of less than 20 years during their original trial.

As revealed by Fairfax Media, Mr Rifan alleged the deal fell through after the judges presiding over the hearings in Denpasar District Court asked for more money because they were under pressure from the Indonesian Supreme Court and Attorney-General’s Department to apply the death penalty.

After starting and then abandoning its investigation before Sukumaran and Chan were executed by firing squad, the judicial commission – which oversees the probity of Indonesian judges – re-commenced the probe after their deaths.

“The report on the alleged breach of the code of ethics is closed because the judicial commission has not got sufficient evidence,” said Imam Anshori Saleh, a member of the commission.

“Rifan’s testimony was heard but he refused for it to be [officially] put in the interrogation report,” he said.

“Meanwhile, Peter [Johnson’s] lawyers have been summoned twice but refused to meet with us and respond.”

Without the lawyers’ evidence, the judicial commission won’t interview the judges or other witnesses.

Mr Johnson, an Australian, is a prominent lawyer in Bali and was Mr Rifan’s boss at the Austrindo law firm which represented most of the members of the Bali nine heroin smuggling ring in their original trials in 2005 and 2006.

Mr Johnson, who changed the name of the firm to Vidhi Law Office this year and has fallen out with Mr Rifan, declined to comment on Sunday when asked via text message about his refusal to co-operate with the inquiry.

Mr Rifan told Fairfax Media the investigation was now pointless, as Sukumaran and Chan were dead.

But the men’s lead lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, said the end of the investigation was premature and “wrong”.

“They have not done their job. They are supposed to investigate properly and uphold the integrity of the judiciary,” he said, adding he had not been informed of the probe finishing.

The Australians in the Bali nine syndicate were arrested after 8.3 kilos of heroin were detected by Indonesian authorities at Denpasar airport on April 17, 2005.

After a series of trials and appeals, only Chan and Sukumaran were left facing the death penalty. Both supplied written statements to the judicial commission about the alleged bribery before they were killed.

Mr Rifan also provided a statement after first alluding to the bribery in a dramatic press conference outside Kerobokan prison in February this year, saying there had been “interference” in the case.

Just days before the men were executed on April 29, he finally outlined his account of the alleged bribery.

“It was more than 1 billion rupiah [about $130,000 at the time] to get a verdict lower than 20 years. …15 or 16 or 17 years like that,” he said.

He also revealed in the interview with former Dateline host Mark Davis that he had been threatened after his initial comments outside Kerobokan prison.

“The judges don’t like me telling the truth. I get many telephone calls threatening me,” he told Davis. “When I call back, the numbers, they are not valid.”

The callers, he said, told him that “if I expose anything, it will be trouble for me”.

with Karuni Rompies


Bali Nine drug smuggler Renae Lawrence could have sentence cut

BALI Nine member Renae Lawrence could have her sentence cut by nine months for good behaviour, as part of Indonesia’s Independence Day celebrations.

Good behaviour ... Bali Nine prisoner Renae Lawrence could have her sentence cut. Picture

This year, well-behaved prisoners have also been recommended for a further reduction to mark another decade of independence. This year is Indonesia’s 70th anniversary.

Lawrence, 37, was sentenced to 20 years’ jail for her part in the 2004 Bali Nine heroin smuggling plot, and is the only member of the group eligible to receive time off her sentence.

The two men deemed “ringleaders” of the group — Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan — were executed in April, and the other members are serving life in other Bali and Java jails.

Executed ... Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran (left) and Andrew Chan were executed

Executed … Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran (left) and Andrew Chan were executed in April. Picture: SuppliedSource: Supplied

Kerobokan Prison governor Sudjonggo says Kiwi Antony de Malmanche, who was jailed in June for 15 years for a drug smuggling crime, has also been recommended for a sentence reduction.

“While he’s not eligible for the decade remission, he’s suggested for three months off,” he said.

Also recommended for a three-month reduction was Australian Edward Norman Myatt, who was jailed for eight years in 2012 for smuggling capsules of hashish and methamphetamine into Bali.

Changing attitudes to the death penalty in Southeast Asia

There is growing opposition to capital punishment in southeast Asia.

It’s our own backyard – but how much do we know about how the death penalty operates in Southeast Asia, asks Brigid Delaney.

The issue only gets media traction here when an Australian such as Van Nyugen is executed or members of the so-called Bali 9, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran receive the death penalty.

Yet there are hundreds of men and women on death row in southeast Asia. The lawyers and groups supporting death row prisoners are often stretched and under-resourced.

But increasingly, laws and attitudes regarding the death penalty in our region are changing.


Just 7 years ago Singapore executed Australian man Van Nyugen under the country’s harsh drug laws. 10 years ago Singapore had enjoyed the dubious distinction of carrying out the most executions per capita of any country in the world. But things are changing. Late last year, the law changed to allow discretion for judges to impose a life sentence. Previously, a guilty verdict, barring a granting of clemency by the president, meant the death penalty was the only sentencing option.

Last week, it was reported that a Malaysian prisoner in Singapore with a murder conviction escaped the death penalty, having his sentence commuted to life imprisonment, following a relaxation of sentencing laws in Parliament.

Fabian Adiu Edwin, 23, had his low IQ and youth taken into account by Singapore’s High Court.

The news was welcomed by death penalty abolitionists and human rights lawyers.

Julian McMahon, part of the legal team who represented Van Nyugen in his capital trial, praised moves by Singapore away from a hardline approach. He wrote on ABC’s The Drum, “Singapore, which prides itself on being both conservative and modern, has perhaps been embarrassed by the rigidity of its criminal law regime, parts of which belong to a long bygone era.

“Allowing judges to actually judge and sentence serious drug cases on a case by case basis is a necessary and long overdue step, but most welcomed by the international community.”


As Australian man Dominic Bird faces a Malaysian court on July 24, on drug charges that attract the death penalty, there are some signs that Malaysians are moving away from support for current laws.

Last week it was reported that a survey of 1,535 Malaysians showed little support for the mandatory implementation of the death penalty – particularly for drugs offences.

Instead there was support for discretionary use of the death penalty.

Members of the Malaysian Bar have been strongly outspoken in their opposition to the death penalty, and leading advocates take on death penalty cases pro bono.

A human rights’ activist in Malaysia last year told me: “The Malaysian Bar Council in 2011 carried a unanimous motion against the death penalty.”

But convincing the public is a more difficult proposition. “There is a big drug problem in Malaysia and very little rehabilitation centres,” she said. The death penalty works as a powerful deterrent, goes the accepted thinking.

But she thought the government might be swayed “to get rid of the death penalty if the public want it abolished.”


Indonesia is a powerful “key domino” in the region when it comes to influencing the death penalty abolition of its neighbours, Dr Dave McCrae of the Lowy Institute wrote last year.

In an analysis published in March 2012 McCrae wrote that “Indonesia remains at a crossroads concerning capital punishment, with competing forces advocating for greater use of the death penalty and for its abolition.”

“Whether or not Indonesia abolishes the death penalty matters to Australia for principled and practical reasons.”

Last year Indonesia, which has more than a hundred people on death row, made what many Indonesia watchers saw as positive moves towards abolition.

When a 54-year-old Indonesian maid working in Saudi Arabia was beheaded after being convicted of killing her employer, the Indonesian public and government were outraged. The execution provoked a diplomatic incident. Indonesia recalled its consular staff, and the issue was hotly debated in the nation’s media.

In the aftermath, Indonesia reached out to its citizens on death row around the world, providing legal assistance and establishing a taskforce to protect the approximately 200 Indonesians facing the death penalty overseas.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, clemency was granted to four prisoners on death row, convicted of drug offences. But a public backlash by some Indonesians against this softening led, this year, to a return to executions after a 4-year moratorium.

In March 2013, Adami Wilson, a Malawi national convicted of drug smuggling, was executed by firing squad. The execution of 3 others followed.

The Indonesian government announced there is a list of around 10 people that they plan to execute this year. It is not known if Australian’s Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are on that list. They face a nervous wait in Kerobokan prison for news of their clemency application, which has been lodged with Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.


Thailand does not have a mandatory death sentence for any offence, but capital sentences are imposed frequently with 706 people on death row in Thailand as of late May 2013. Around half of these are for drug offences.

Reprieve Australia sent a research team to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in 2012 to report on capital punishment regimes in those countries and on resources and public appetite for abolition.

They found in Thailand that “currently, men condemned to death are permanently shackled by what is politically described as ‘instruments of restraint’.

“These shackles are welded on to the ankles and are not removed, even during illness.”

In a move welcomed by human rights activists, in May this year leg irons were deemed ‘unnecessarily cruel’ by the Thai Corrections Department, and their use was banned.

Apart from overturning practices relating to shackling, legal reform in Thailand has been slow.

At a seminar late last year in Thailand, human rights activists and experts said the country was “falling behind its neighbours” in southeast Asia when it came to the abolition of the death penalty.

The Philippines abolished the death penalty in 2006 and Cambodia has no death penalty under its constitution.

Pol Colonel Aeknarat Sawettanand, director-general of the Department of Rights and Liberty Protection told the seminar that “many Thais are still in the mindset of revenge and retribution, which poses a hurdle in trying to convince them that it is against human rights standards to retain the death penalty.”

Roseann Rife, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Asia Pacific program, said Thailand needs to “move swiftly and decisively” to end the death penalty. She said “public opinion was rarely in favour of abolishing the death penalty until abolition is passed into law. So, it was necessary for activists and the government to take the lead.”

Aeknarat called on the Thai Parliament to show leadership in implementing reforms and abolishing the death penalty.


Last month Vietnam announced it would begin to kill death row prisoners by lethal injection.

Previously prisoners were executed by firing squad due to the unavailability of poisons in Vietnam needed to make the mixture for lethal injection. The EU had refused to export chemicals to Vietnam that would be used in executions.

This has led to a backlog of prisoners awaiting execution as the use of firing squads had been phased out. However once Vietnam started manufacturing its own poisons, the Minister of Public Security Tran Dai Quang had announced that the implementation of the death penalty by lethal injection would start from June 27.

There are more than 560 prisoners under death penalty and 170 people are eligible for lethal injection.

The New York Times reported that Amnesty International activists working in Vietnam had hoped EU moratorium on manufacturing the drugs would lead to abolition of the death penalty. Yet sentences of death for mostly drug and murder offences continued. In 2012, Amnesty International reported that at least 86 people were sentenced to death.

One of those facing the death penalty is an American citizen who was caught last month allegedly attempting to smuggle more than a kilogram of heroin to Sydney, via Vietnam.

Local media reported this week that despite Vietnam starting to manufacture its own lethal injection drugs, and rights’ groups anticipating a ‘mass killing’, no prisoners have been executed yet.

Cao Ngoc Oanh, director of the central police department in charge of managing nationwide prisons, told the media on June 26 that “we are not ready to carry out with lethal injections.” Any further information was “classified.”

According to reports in the Vietnamese media, death row prisoners are suffering considerable mental anguish due to uncertainty about their fate.

“‘Many prisoners have been waiting to be executed for 5 to 6 years,” said lawmaker Nguyen Van Hien, adding that many prisoners have been begging to be executed.’

(source: Commentary; Brigid Delaney is a freelance journalist. She has worked as a lawyer and currently volunteers for Reprieve. She is also the co-founder of the Mercy Campaign, which is campaigning for clemency in the cases of Australians on death row – Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan—-SBS)

INDONESIA: ‘Torture’ as pair wait to die

An insight into the lives of 6 Australians from the infamous Bali 9 drug-smuggling ring reveals their daily struggle with life jail terms in Indonesia and, for 2 of them, being on death row.

Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran, Scott Rush, Matthew Norman, Michael Czugaj and Si Yi Chen also tell veteran journalist Mike Willesee their thoughts and memories of the drug-smuggling attempt that sealed their fate 8 years ago.

Willesee was given rare access to the convicted traffickers behind bars at Kerobokan prison for Channel 7’s Sunday Night program tomorrow.

Ringleaders Chan and Sukumaran reveal how they live in constant fear that they will be suddenly executed.

It is customary for Indonesian prisoners to be removed without notice to face a firing squad.

“It’s 12 o’clock at night,” Sukumaran, from Sydney’s inner-west, says. “They come in, a whole bunch of guards, and pull you out of your cell.

“I know they won’t do it in Bali. They take you to an island – I don’t know.

“You can ask to be blindfolded. You don’t have to be. And then they shoot.”

On April 17, 2005, 9 Australians, some teenagers on their first trip overseas, were caught trying to smuggle heroin from Bali into Australia.

Chan and Sukumaran were identified as the ringleaders and given the death penalty.

“I was young and basically I thought I was invincible,” Chan says.

Sukumaran adds: “The only thing I was thinking, really, was to make some money, quick money.”

Rush was just 18 when arrested at Denpasar airport trying to smuggle heroin strapped to his body out of Indonesia. Looking pale and shaken, he is desperate not to spend the rest of his life in prison.

“We have to be rescued,” he pleads.

Willesee, who spent 4 days in the jail with the 6 of Bali 9 convicts interviewed, told – The Weekend West – he was deeply affected by going to Bali to do the story.

Showing sympathy for Chan and Sukumaran who, he said, were reformed and rehabilitated, Willesee described their wait as torture.

“The thought of them spending more nights this year, maybe next year – who knows – waiting for the execution, I just don’t think it should happen,” he said. “Life imprisonment seems enough.”

The 6 prisoners also revealed why they tried to traffic the drug and how some of them thought they would get away with it.

“You think it’s not going to happen to me,” Norman says. “It happens to other people. I’m lucky.

“Looking for adventure, never been out of the country before, I thought, ‘Yeah, why not’.”

(source: The West Australian)