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Life sentence call for Bali 9 accused
FPSS Advocates continue to support a number of Bali 9 family members who are all anxiously awaiting the courts decision. Our thoughts and prayers remain with them and we encourage our members to write letters of support. We urge people in Australia to remember that the families of these young people are suffering and we hope that there will be mercy shown by Indonesian Authorities. Click Here for Bali 9 Case Information
From correspondents in Denpasar, Bali January 24, 2006

INDONESIAN prosecutors today demanded that alleged Bali Nine drug mule Michael Czugaj be found guilty and sentenced to life for heroin smuggling.

Czugaj, 20 of Brisbane, looked pale and nervous but remained calm as the prosecutors read out their submission in the Denpasar District Court.

The call came about an hour after prosecutors demanded death by firing squad for one of the alleged leaders of the gang, Myuran Sukumaran, 24 of Sydney.

Today's differing prosecution demands makes it clear that Indonesian authorities want to draw a line of life and death between those accused of being the gang's chiefs and so-called heroin mules who say they were forced into becoming drug couriers.

Yesterday prosecutors also demanded life in prison for another of the mules, Scott Rush, 20 of Brisbane, who is Czugaj's friend.

Other Bali Nine defendants are expected to hear similar prosecutor demands tomorrow and Thursday.

Under Indonesian court procedures, prosecutors make recommendations on what punishment they think a defendant should get if found guilty.

Such demands are not binding on judges, who can impose tougher or more lenient sentences than those called for by the prosecution.

Verdicts in all the Bali Nine cases are expected later next month in line with a deadline set under Indonesian law.

Czugaj was one of four accused who were arrested at Bali Airport on April 17 last year allegedly with packages of heroin strapped to their bodies.

They were picked up by Indonesian police after a tip-off from the Australian Federal Police.

  • Bali 9 Case Information

  • Australian in Bali may face death
    Myuran Sukumaran (L) is one of nine defendants
    Indonesian prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for an Australian man who allegedly led a plot to smuggle drugs from the resort island of Bali.

    Prosecutors accused Myuran Sukumaran of being "the head of an international drug smuggling syndicate".

    Along with eight compatriots, Mr Sukumaran is accused of trying to carry 8.2kg (18lb) of heroin out of Bali.

    The trials are being closely watched in Australia, where many people oppose the death sentence.

    Under Indonesian law, prosecutors specify what penalty they think the defendant should receive if found guilty, but judges are free to ignore this recommendation.

    'Bali nine'

    Dubbed the "Bali nine" by the Australian media, the eight men and one woman were arrested in April 2005.

    Some were detained at Bali's airport with heroin strapped to their bodies, while others were arrested in a nearby hotel room.

    Scott Rush, 20, was the first of the group to hear the prosecution's plea at Denpasar district court.

    Indonesian prosecutors asked on Monday that he should face life in prison, saying his age and good behaviour during the trial so far were mitigating factors.

    They made the same recommendation on Tuesday for another defendant, 20-year-old Michael Cjuzag.

    But Mr Sukumaran was given no mercy by the prosecutors, and he showed little emotion as they asked the judge for the death penalty.

    Indonesia has increasingly become a transit route for drug traffickers, and courts across the country have toughened up on offenders in recent years, sentencing several foreigners to death for serious drugs offences.

    Another Australian, beauty therapist Schapelle Corby, was found guilty of smuggling marijuana into Bali and sentenced to 20 years in jail last May.

  • Bali 9 Case Information

  • Bali nine's Sukumaran faces death
    Prosecutors in Denpasar District Court have asked the judges in the trial of 25-year-old Myuran Sukumaran to pass the death penalty on the alleged ringleader of the Bali nine conspiracy.

    Prosecutors took an hour to outline their reasons for demanding the death penalty.

    They painted a picture of Sukumaran as a man who conceived with Andrew Chan the entire conspiracy then provided money, tickets and hotel bookings for the couriers and ended by strapping heroin to the bodies of four people arrested at Denpasar Airport in April last year.

    Prosecutors told the court he was at the head of an organised conspiracy to export a class one drug from Indonesia.

    "We ask that the panel of judges hearing the case of defendant Myuran Sukumaran declare the defendant guilty of the crime of exporting first-class narcotics in an organised way, and without permit," prosecutor David Adji told the district court in Denpasar, Bali's main town.

    He demanded that the panel of judges "hand down the death sentence to the defendant."

    Yesterday prosecutors asked for one of the alleged drug smugglers, Scott Rush, to be sentenced to life in prison.

    Under Indonesian law, the court is not bound to follow the recommendation by the prosecution team if Sukumaran is found guilty.

    Prosecutors said that there were no mitigating factors in favour of the defendant, and that his crime ran against the Indonesian Government's tough anti-drugs drive, and also tarnished the image of Indonesia and Bali.

    They said that the defendant had also "not been straightforward during his questioning and in court".

    Sukumaran, who is from Sydney, showed little emotion as the prosecutors submitted their sentencing request in the Denpasar District Court.

    Prosecutors said there was no reason to grant leniency.

    It is the first time they have demanded death for one of the Bali nine.

    Sukumaran is accused of affixing packages containing heroin on at least three of the mules from the so-called Bali nine - Renae Lawrence, Martin Stephens and Rush.

    The gang of eight men and one woman, arrested after a tip-off by Australian Federal Police (AFP), are accused of attempting to smuggle the drug out of Bali to Australia.

    Mohammad Rifan, one of Sukumaran's lawyers, asked for two weeks' time to prepare a defence comment in response but Judge Gusti Lanang Dauh gave the team until February 1.

    Sukumaran was allegedly discovered at a hotel on Bali's Kuta Beach with several mobile phones and 350 grams of heroin.

    He has denied any knowledge of the heroin seized at Ngurah Rai Airport last April 17, as well as that found at his premises when he was arrested.

    -ABC/AFP

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