Four more members of the Bali Nine to face death penalty

Thursday, September 7, 2006

An additional four members of the Bali Nine, convicted of smuggling heroin into Indonesia will face the death penalty. In all, six of the drug smugglers are sentenced to death by firing squad. The Bali Nine is the name given to nine Australian citizens arrested in Indonesia in early 2005.

Zarof Ricar from Jakarta's Supreme Court has confirmed that the previous 20 year sentences given to Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Si Yi Chen, Matthew Norman and Scott Rush had been changed to death by firing squad after an appeal by prosecutors. Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myran Sukumaran had previous been the only members of the group to be given the death penalty.

Ricar's confirmation ends a day of speculation about the fate of the men. The Australian government is still seeking official confirmation about the decision, believed to have been made on August 16.

Relatives of the Bali Nine have again attacked the Australian Federal Police for passing intelligence to Indonesian officials which led to their arrest. Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison denies any inappropriate actions by the AFP and says authorities merely cooperated with Indonesia.

Macquarie National News's Indonesian correspondent Sujadi Siswo said it was not unusual for Supreme Court decisions to be kept secret in Indonesia.

"It's not the procedure for the Supreme Court to make public their results, so what's happened is one of the lawyers of the defendants has informed the media," he said.