A DISTRAUGHT Scott Rush has pleaded for Australia not to "bury
us before we are dead" and do everything possible to reverse the
shock death sentences imposed on him and other members of the Bali
Speaking from inside Bali's Kerobokan jail, Rush said the
convicted Australians were devastated after learning that
Indonesia's Supreme Court had rejected appeals by four of them for
lighter prison sentences and instead ordered their execution.
The death sentences for Rush, 20, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 23, Si
Yi Chen, 21, and 19-year-old Matthew Norman were revealed yesterday
in The Age and confirmed later by Indonesian court
It means that six of the Bali nine heroin smugglers now face
death by firing squad, after the court also confirmed the death
penalty for the ringleaders of the scheme, Andrew Chan, 22, and
Myuran Sukumaran, 25.
However, two others, Martin Stephens and Michael Czugaj, have
been spared after their appeals were heard by a different judge,
who ordered that they serve life terms.
Renae Lawrence, the only female member of the group, is serving
a 20-year term that was not subject to appeal.
Robert Khuana, the lawyer for Rush, signalled he would seek an
extraordinary review of the new death sentences, saying the "blind"
judges had not discriminated between the couriers and organisers of
the plan to import eight kilograms of heroin into Australia.
Failing that, Mr Khuana said Rush would appeal to Indonesian
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for a pardon.
The verdicts sparing Stephens and Czugaj were confirmed
yesterday after the Supreme Court, responding to the publication of
the other verdicts, held a crisis meeting to finalise the remaining
Bali nine appeals.
After a day of confusion over the verdicts with
conflicting media reports and Australian Foreign Minister Alexander
Downer saying he could not clarify the outcome senior
Supreme Court judge Iskandar Kamil finally emerged from the crisis
meeting to confirm the four new death sentences.
Judge Kamil said he lacked the heart to hand down death
sentences, but the seriousness of drug trafficking required tough
penalties. Executions were part of Indonesian law and the sentence
was applied in accordance with the law, he said.
"Drug problems are a very dangerous crime against the Indonesian
community, and not just for Indonesia but also for other countries
and communities," Judge Kamil said.
"This is a serious case. The amount (of heroin) is quite large.
Heavy crimes must be paid with similar punishment."
However, Muhammad Taufik, the judge who presided over the
appeals of Stephens and Czugaj, said he had ordered life
imprisonment as the hearing had examined their roles in the
smuggling and "we believe a life sentence is enough for their role
as couriers with no part in organising it".
"We do not see any reason for death penalties in these cases
because we see they only followed orders and received payment. They
were not the brains or the drug bosses," he said.
One of the Bali prosecutors leading the cases against the nine,
Made Sudarmawan, said he was "shocked, a bit shocked" by the
verdicts, "but it is out of our hands".
In submissions to the appeal, prosecutors had requested only
that their 20-year terms be boosted to life imprisonment.
Mohammad Rifan, lawyer for Nyugen, Chen, Norman, Chan and
Sukumaran, visited his clients in Kerobokan yesterday, but declined
to make any comment on their plans until he was officially informed
of the verdicts.
Mr Khuana said he would immediately discuss lodging an
extraordinary appeal with Rush and his parents.
Inside Kerobokan, Rush said all of the nine were shocked by the
news. "This is making my head spin. I am sitting on death, am I?"
he asked The Age.
"At first I didn't want to appeal because of this sort of thing.
I was scared and me and my parents were stressed.
"But everyone said no Australians would be put to death, and now
I am on death row.
"Life and death, there is a big difference."
All possible steps should be taken to help the Australians avoid
the firing squads, Rush said.
"If there is anything people can do to prevent this, please make
it happen because I need a second chance at life."
Rush said he had been "cleaning myself up" and trying to study,
but "now they won't give us a second chance
don't bury us
before we are dead."
Australian barrister Colin McDonald, QC, is expected to fly to
Jakarta within days to explore a possible appeal against the death
sentence imposed on Rush.
Mr McDonald said last night that he was making the trip "as a
matter of urgency" after discussions yesterday with Bob Meyers, a
Queensland lawyer acting for Rush's parents Christine and Lee.
With LINDSAY MURDOCH
Click Here for Bali 9 Case Information