A probe into bribe claims at the sentencing of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran has started taking evidence, two weeks after the central witnesses were executed.
Monday 11 May 2015
Indonesia's judicial commission is probing claims that the Chan and Sukumaran judges asked for more than $130,000 for jail of less than 20 years.
A probe into bribe claims at the sentencing of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran has started taking evidence, two weeks after the central witnesses were executed.On the eve of the Australian pair's executions, their lawyer from their 2005 trial,...
Thursday 7 May 2015

Indonesians lawyer for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan will assist a judicial commission probe into bribery claims over the pair's death sentence.

The Indonesian lawyer for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan will assist a judicial commission probe into claims of bribery and political interference in their sentencing.

The Australians were executed last week, nine years after they were sentenced to death for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia in the Bali Nine plot.

On the day before they were shot, their former lawyer finally detailed claims that judges who sentenced the men asked for more than $130,000 in exchange for giving them a prison term of less than 20 years.

Muhammad Rifan says the offer was withdrawn on orders from Jakarta to impose the death penalty.

The pair's current lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, referred the claims to the judicial commission for investigation in February when Mr Rifan first raised them, but only recently received a summons.

He will give a statement to the commission on Thursday.

It is not known when Mr Rifan will be summonsed, or how the executions of Chan and Sukumaran will affect the investigation.

The pair had provided affidavits to the judicial commission.

 

Monday 4 May 2015

Federal police faced an agonising decision but they should have arrested the Bali Nine drug smugglers in Australia, independent senator Nick Xenophon has argued.

He has queried an Australian Federal Police explanation of its role in the investigation that led to the executions of ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran last week.

He says the "largely unanswered" question is why the group was arrested in Indonesia and not Australia.

"Without that answer there can be no surety that this will not occur again," Senator Xenophon told reporters in Canberra.

AFP's explanation over execution does little to stop criticism: 

 

If I’d been consulted it would’ve been different: former attorney-general

Former attorney-general Philip Ruddock has spoken out about the Bali Nine case following a press conference from the AFP today.

Mr Ruddock said if he had been consulted - and if the present guidelines were in place - it would have been a different story for the Bali Nine.

He said he would have insisted the federal police gained assurances that the suspects would not be exposed to the death penalty before any information was handed over.

"If they'd come to me I would have said 'Make some enquiries about the possibility of there being a death penalty'," he said.

"That's what I would have said because I feel that very strongly; it's what happens in relation to extradition.” 

Mr Ruddock is now campaigning for the end of the death penalty around the world.

 

AFP: No guarantee Australians won't be executed for drug offences: 

 

The nation's police chief can't guarantee Australians won't be executed for drug offences again based on information passed onto overseas agencies.

But Australian Federal Police commissioner Andrew Colvin regrets Indonesia went ahead with the "unnecessary" executions of Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Watch the full address:  

"It was tragic what happened last week," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday, breaking the AFP's long silence on the matter.

"At the time we were working with a very incomplete picture".

He dismissed accusations police could have arrested the Australians before they headed off to Indonesia.

"At the time we were working with a very incomplete picture," Mr Colvin said.

The cooperation led to the arrest of 15 members of a syndicate, rather than merely a few drug couriers who may not have cooperated in smashing the wider ring.

He understood the community's anger about the role police played in passing on information to Indonesia.

But Australian police worked closely with many countries in the region to stop drugs and it was a "hard reality" that many of those nations still imposed the death penalty.

"I wish I could assure you that this scenario could never happen again, but I cannot," he said.

Deputy commissioner Mike Phelan, who was in charge of the initial investigation, said Australian police asked Indonesia to help investigate the Bali Nine knowing it may lead to them facing the death penalty.

"If anybody thinks that over the last 10 years I haven't agonised over this decision, then they don't know me".

'Agony' over Bali Nine decision

"If anybody thinks that over the last 10 years I haven't agonised over this decision, then they don't know me," he said.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin speaks to the media during a press conference in Canberra, Monday, May 4, 2015. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)

"Yes, I knew full well by handing over the information and requesting surveillance, if they found them in possession of drugs they'd take action and expose them to the death penalty. I knew that.

 

"But I weighed up a number of things in my mind as to what I thought was appropriate.

 "Every time I look back, I still think it's a difficult decision".

"And every time I look back, I still think it's a difficult decision.

"But given what I knew at that particular time and what our officers knew, I would take a lot of convincing to make a different decision. It was not easy."

More detailed guidelines now in place around working with countries that have the death penalty mean if police are faced with an identical case today they would have to take many more factors into account.

Fifteen applications for AFP information from death penalty nations have been knocked back in the past three years.

AFP hoped Rush might expose kingpins

Australian federal police said they let Bali Nine mule Scott Rush leave for Indonesia hoping he would lead them to the drug ring's kingpins.

Police have told reporters they knew Rush was linked to a ring planning to import illicit drugs into Australia, but when Rush and others linked to the syndicate flew out of Australia, bound for Bali, a decade ago, police had an incomplete picture of the operation.

They didn't know the identity of the kingpins or even which drug would be smuggled back into Australia.

They said they lacked sufficient evidence to arrest any of the nine before they left and hoped that letting them go would lead them to the Mr Bigs of the syndicate.

"We needed to find out all that information so we could ... stop further importations occurring and get to the source of the narcotics themselves," said AFP Deputy Commissioner Michael Phelan, who was in charge of the initial investigation.

"It is absolutely not feasible to alert somebody who's going overseas that (they) are of police interest ... in relation to a serious and organised crime investigation of this nature".

The AFP denied ever promising Rush's father, Lee Rush, his son would be prevented from leaving Australia or warned he was the subject of police attention.

"It is absolutely not feasible to alert somebody who's going overseas that (they) are of police interest ... in relation to a serious and organised crime investigation of this nature," Mr Phelan said.

The AFP decided to ask Indonesian police to carry out surveillance on the Australians "in the full knowledge that we may well be exposing those individuals to the death penalty".

"We knew what may occur as a result of that," he said.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said it wasn't true that Lee Rush's tip-off about his son's plans to join the drug ring sparked the police operation.

"I want to take the pressure off Scott Rush's father".

The AFP was already broadly aware of the ring's activities and Rush was subject to three separate travel alerts based on a range of intelligence.

"I want to take the pressure off Scott Rush's father," the commissioner said.

"The AFP was already aware of, and had commenced investigating, what we believed was a syndicate that was actively recruiting couriers to import narcotics to Australia at the time of Mr Rush's contact with the AFP."

Mr Colvin said the AFP had an obligation to protect Australia from transnational crime and could not limit itself to dealing with countries that shared a similar approach to justice.

"Our strategy for many years is to take that fight offshore whenever possible to minimise and reduce the impact it has here in Australia," he said.

 

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has met with Paul Grigson, Australia's ambassador to Indonesia who has been recalled in the wake of two executions.
Australia is considering various responses to Indonesia's execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.The Australian drug traffickers were executed last week in Indonesia despite multiple appeals for clemency from Foreign Minister Julie Bishop,...

The barrister who tipped off the AFP about the Bali Nine drug plot says it will never be able to explain its betrayal of Chan, Sukumaran and the others.

Federal police imported the death penalty into Australia when they arranged for the Bali Nine to be arrested in Indonesia, the barrister who tipped them off says.

Bob Myers says Australian Federal Police had all the evidence they needed to arrest the nine before they left Australia on a heroin smuggling mission.

Instead, the AFP let them travel to Bali and then told Indonesian police about the crime they were about to commit, Mr Myers says.

Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are now dead because the AFP betrayed their obligation not to expose Australians to the death penalty, he says.

"They effectively imported the death penalty into Australian law by acting they way they did," Mr Myers told ABC radio on Monday.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin will on Monday front the media over the organisation's role in the Bali Nine arrests.

But Mr Myers says he won't get the one answer he really wants - why.

"There's not an answer. They're going to try and say to curry favour with the Indonesians, cooperation in terms of security and terrorism, alternatively sending a message to other young Australian kids. Not one of those is a sufficient answer."

Mr Myers said that when he went to Bali in the wake of the arrests a decade ago, AFP officer Paul Hunniford told him it was "virtually inevitable that one or more of them was going to die".

The barrister called Mr Hunniford, who was the AFP's senior liaison officer in Bali at the time, the author of the men's death warrants.

It was Mr Hunniford who wrote to Indonesia police to provide the Bali Nine's names, passport numbers, and details of what they were planning.

"If there is a suspicion that ... the couriers are carrying the illegal narcotics at the time of their departure, please take whatever action that you consider necessary," the letter said.

Bob Myers is a friend of Bali Nine drug mule Scott Rush, who's serving a life sentence for his role in the heroin ring.

He tipped off the AFP about the drug plot, after his friend, Scott Rush's father Lee, called him, desperate for help to head off a crime he feared his son was about to commit.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says he wants to know if changes to the way Australian police handle potential death penalty cases overseas are sufficient.

"Have the guidelines been tightened enough to avoid any chance that we could see a repetition of the Bali Nine executions?" he told ABC radio on Monday.

Saturday 2 May 2015
While the families of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran organise funerals, Tony Abbott has to think about Australia's future relationship with Indonesia.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are home.A container believed to be carrying the Bali Nine ringleaders' bodies was escorted from the tarmac at Sydney airport about 6.30am on Saturday, having landed in Australia three days after they were shot by...
Friday 1 May 2015

Prime Minister Tony Abbott believes Indonesia's offer of sympathy for the deaths of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is a sign the strong relationship between the two nations can be resumed.

"It's a sign that decent people in Indonesia appreciate the anger that Australians feel at these cruel and unnecessary deaths," he told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

Mr Abbott was responding to a statement by Indonesian Ambassador Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, Jakarta's first diplomatic response to the recall of Australia's envoy as protest against the execution of the Bali Nine ringleaders.

The Chan family arrived back in Sydney on Friday.

Cabinet minister Christopher Pyne welcomed Mr Kesoema's comments, saying the relationship must get back on an even keel.

"The Indonesian ambassador is talking soothingly today," he said on Friday, adding the wider issue was a strong bilateral relationship.

Mr Kesoema conceded it was a difficult and challenging time in the relationship and that good relations with Australia were very important for Indonesia.

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