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Last of the Bali Nine begins trial
The intense pressure on the lone female among the Bali Nine is set to increase after her lawyer revealed she will testify against her alleged cohorts in a bid to escape a possible death penalty.

Dressed in a black suit and white shirt, Renae Lawrence on Friday became the last of the group to begin their trials at Denpasar District Court for alleged heroin trafficking.

She sat impassively with a translator as the prosecutor read out the charges against her, alleging she helped to organise the smuggling attempt before leaving Australia.

After the hearing, lawyer Yan Apul Girsang sat her down at the defence table and broke the bad news to her.

"The prosecutor is not charging you with article 55 of the criminal code (which applies to crimes committed by people together), that means you are going to be charged individually," he said.

"We are going to be victimised, we need your support," he told her, urging her to remain strong as she prepares to testify against other members of the nine.

The Newcastle woman, who turned 28 this week, appeared shell-shocked and nodded numbly before being led to the police van to return to Kerobokan jail, where she has apparently made several suicide attempts.

Lawrence again appeared distressed and under pressure on Friday.

Next, Girsang told journalists, she will have to testify against her co-accused to prove she is a victim of a conspiracy.

All nine are facing a possible firing squad under article 82 of Indonesia's narcotics law after being arrested in Bali in April following an alleged Australian Federal Police tip-off.

Lawrence was arrested at Bali's Ngurah Rai airport with Wollongong man Martin Stephens, 29, and Brisbane men Scott Rush, 19, and Michael Czugaj, 20, with a total of 8.2kg of heroin strapped to their bodies.

Sydney man and alleged organiser Andrew Chan, 21, was also arrested at the airport but with no drugs on him.

Alleged kingpin, Sydney martial arts expert Myuran Sukumaran, 24, and three other men, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 27, Matthew Norman, 19 and Si Yi Chen, 20, were arrested at Kuta's Melasti Hotel.

Girsang said Chan and the Melasti four planned the whole operation so that the alleged mules would take the fall if the mission failed.

"Andrew Chan and friends could be free," he said.

"They should all be tried together. There are people who give orders and who take orders.

"It is impossible that she exported without the Melasti group."

Lawrence and Stephens claim they only took part in the botched operation because Chan and Sukumaran threatened to kill their families.

After briefly visiting Lawrence in her cell and kissing her through the bars, her father Bob and stepmother Jenny sat in the front row of the court with Australian consular officials.

Jenny fanned her face and became teary-eyed watching Lawrence double over in the witness chair and cradle her head in her lap to hide from the cameras.

She stayed that way for several minutes before the trial began.

Lawrence heard prosecutor I Wayan Nastra allege that under orders from Chan, her boss at a Sydney catering company, she helped plan the smuggling mission.

"She took to Bali the plastic wrapping, tape and bicycle shorts that she and the three other alleged mules would be found wearing packed with heroin eleven days later at Bali airport en route back to Sydney," Nastra told the court.

"Lawrence had no intention of backing out of the operation; the only reason she did not get on the plane was because customs officers stopped her," he said.

Bob Lawrence defended his daughter.

"We hope things go well for her. She was forced into it," he said.

Lawrence's trial was adjourned to next Friday, when her lawyers will lodge an objection to the charges.

Bali nine sweat it out as their fates are decided
By Ian Munro - Denpasar - October 15, 2005

HE ARRIVED briefly unnerved, but quickly regained his composure. In the sort of humidity that saps the spirit and distracts the mind, Myuran Sukumaran remained a strikingly neat figure in dark trousers and starched white shirt.

The police guards half-guided, half-wrestled him into court and then shrugged him off towards his place in front of the judges. Physically imposing, almost proud, Sukumaran, 24, sat erect with a copy of the case against him on his knees.

But long before the lengthy indictment against him was completely read out he was sagging in his seat. Conversations had broken out among the spectators in the body of the court.

The judges, heads inclined towards each other, had joked among themselves. One of them had stifled a yawn. Even the defence team seemed distracted.

It was like this for each of the Bali nine defendants. They are faced with multiple charges, but each offence stems from broadly the same alleged facts.

The planning meeting at Roselands Shopping Centre in Sydney. The joint flights to Bali during which the conspirators ignored one another, as instructed by Andrew Chan. The meetings in Kuta. The heroin buy. The cancelled return trip and the second heroin buy. Taping packages of heroin to the mules. Chan taking a separate taxi to Denpasar airport. The bust at the airport. The harvest of more than 8.2 kilograms of heroin.

These same alleged facts were related for each defendant, with only minor variations, as their trials began. All this while they sat in the sweltering heat that leaves even the most idle of observers in a sheen of perspiration.

There are other Australians here on a sad pilgrimage. On Wednesday, the third commemoration of the first Bali bombing atrocity drew several hundred to mourn and to remember the 88 Australians and 114 others who died in 2002. Inevitably they drew comparisons with the treatment of Jemaah Islamiah's spiritual leader Abu Bakar Bashir, and the convicted Bali bombers Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron, who until Tuesday were held in Kerobokan Prison with the Bali nine.

Mark Wallace was up from Byron Bay and bearing the weight of the loss of his sister, Jodi, who was 29 when she was killed in the first Bali bombing. He shared his flight with the mother of Bali nine member Michael Czugaj.

"The Indonesians are very tough on the drug side, but then you get Abu Bakar Bashir about to get out of prison, then they cut the sentences of all those who did (the bombing)," Mr Wallace said. "I just don't understand it."

As it happens, nor do many Balinese. About 2000 of them descended on Kerobokan Prison on Wednesday after a day of public demands for the execution of the bombers.

And the Bali nine themselves are locked in a process they don't understand. Each case will sit just once a week, with the defendants waiting in Kerobokan for their the next day in court.

The hearings are set to stretch into next year. It is justice by increments.

Click Here for Bali 9 Case Information

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