Bali Nine Ringleader’s Final Appeal Is Rejected
The final appeal of convicted drug smuggler Myuran Sukumaran against his death sentence has been rejected by the Supreme Court, his lawyer said.
Sukumaran, one of the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” gang who were caught attempting to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin to Australia through Bali in 2005, had lodged the appeal with Indonesia’s highest court after all other appeals failed.
Todung Mulya Lubis, a lawyer for 30-year-old Sukumaran, said he found out on Wednesday that Sukumaran’s judicial review had been rejected by the court.
“I’m very saddened by the decision,” Lubis said; “He has admitted his guilt and asked not to be sentenced to death. The death punishment should actually be revoked.”
Lubis said Sukumaran, from Sydney, had been informed of the failure of the appeal.
“He’s taking it calmly but is bitterly disappointed,” he said.
Last month the Supreme Court also rejected the judicial review of Andrew Chan, another member of the group who was also sentenced to face the firing squad. Both Chan and Sukumaran, who are being held at Bali’s Kerobokan Prison, had lodged their final appeals together last August.
Responding to the failure of Chan’s appeal, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she would get personally involved in attempts to seek clemency for the smuggler.
Following the rejections by the Supreme Court, the final option for the men is a direct appeal for clemency to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The only other member of the gang, Scott Rush, successfully appealed against his death sentence in May, and had it commuted to life imprisonment.
Other members of the gang are serving lengthy prison terms at Kerobokan.
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd, who visited Jakarta last Friday, said he would raise Sukumaran’s death sentence with President Yudhoyono. “Any leader would try their best to try to ask for clemency for their citizens, but they also must respect the rule of law that applied in that country,” a spokesman for Rudd said.
Last week Yudhoyono responded to questions about the sentence of Frenchman Michael Blanc, who is serving a 20-year term after being caught with 3.8 grams of hashish in Bali in 2000, by saying that the application of law was a sovereign issue.
“Humanitarian issues are important, maintaining good bilateral relations is important, but justice and upholding the legal system should not be neglected,” during a press conference with visiting French Prime Minister Francois Fillon.
Although Blanc’s 20-year-term is a reduction from an initial life term, he has continued to appeal to European figures including Prince Albert of Monaco and former French president Jacques Chirac to intervene on his behalf.
A 2005 request from the French government for Blanc to be transferred to France was unsuccessful.
Yudhoyono said he appreciated the concern of all governments for the fate of their citizens imprisoned overseas, and said that Indonesia had similar concerns for Indonesians imprisoned abroad, but stressed that sovereignty need to be respected.
“In those cases (of Indonesians jailed overseas) we did all we could, including appealing on humanitarian grounds and those of good bilateral relations. However, Indonesia respects the authority of the legal system in each nation,” he said.Filed under: Headlines