HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EACH PERSON REGARDLESS OF AGE, RACE, RELIGION OR POLITICS
HOME | CAMPAIGNS | PRISONERS/PRISONS | EXPERIENCES | BOOKS/PRODUCTS | HOW TO HELP | NEWS | EMAIL
LATEST NEWS
Courts closing in on Bali Nine
By CINDY WOCKNER in Bali - August 16, 2005

THE Bali Nine drugs accused were summonsed before the island's prosecutor yesterday in a significant step towards trials which could put them before a firing squad.

They were brought from their jail cells at Kerobokan Prison earlier in the week and taken to meet their respective lawyers to be told the police investigation was at an end and their trials were imminent.

Alleged drugs "mules" Martin Stephens and Renae Lawrence were told by lawyer Haposan Sihombing the evidence had been passed to prosecutors.

The transfer of the files cleared the way for charges and their trials to begin and with little in the way of a defence case the first step towards a possible death sentence.

All nine were taken to the prosecutor's office in Denpasar for the formal process.

The Airport Four all dressed up for the meeting. Lawrence wore a dark suit, Stephens, Martin Czugaj and Scott Rush were in shirts and ties.

Andrew Chan, accused of being a gang ringleader, was dressed more casually and was asked by a guard: "Where's your tie?"

Each was taken to a chair before the evidence against them was outlined to them individually.

The heroin they are accused of trying to smuggle into Australia was produced and laid out on the wooden table, and they were asked to identify it.

Each of the nine was then asked to sign the evidence papers.

Sitting with the heroin in front of them, Lawrence and Stephens reiterated to The Daily Telegraph what they have said from the day of their arrests: They were threatened with death if they did not agree to carry their share of the drug from Bali to Sydney.

Lawrence, her arm still bandaged where she fractured it punching a wall at the jail, said even if she had her time over she could change nothing.

"We had no choice to start with so if we could turn back the clock we would be still here," she said as Stephens added: "Agreed on that."

Trials at Denpasar District Court will follow swiftly. The Bali Nine will be tried in seven separate trials, scheduled to begin next month.

Stephens, 29, from Wollongong, and Lawrence, 27, from Wallsend in Newcastle, are among the Airport Four. They were arrested in April with 8kg of heroin allegedly strapped to their bodies.

All of the Airport Four will be tried separately.

They face charges of possessing and distributing drugs and conspiracy in a narcotics crime.

The charge of distributing or dealing falls under section 82 of the tough Indonesian anti-drug laws, and carries the penalty of death by firing squad.

Chan, 21, from Enfield, will be tried alone. There will also be a separate trial for alleged mastermind Myuran Sukumaran, 24, from Auburn.

The remainingthree, arrested at the Melasti Hotel in Kuta Matthew Norman, 18 from Quakers Hill, Si Yi Chen, 20 from Doonside, and Tach Duc Thanh Nguyen, 27 from Brisbane will be tried together.

Click Here for Bali 9 Case Information

From Sydney to Indonesian firing squad
By Cindy Wockner in Bali - August 16, 2005

THE story of how the Bali nine went from a motel room in Enfield, Sydney, to death row in Bali has emerged for the first time.

Court documents reveal how they were drawn in, and the roles each of them played in the heroin smuggling plot.

It sheds new light on the case, on the day Balinese prosecutors announced court cases will start next month. These could land the seven NSW young people, and two from Queensland, before a firing squad.

The insights come from defence papers that were prepared after extensive interviews with two of the accused, catering assistant Renae Lawrence, from Wallsend, Newcastle and Martin Stephens, from Wollongong.

In their own words, Lawrence and Stephens tell how they were recruited to the plan by one of the alleged ringleaders, Andrew Chan, 21, with whom they both worked at Sydney catering company Eurest.

They told police they were ordered to speak in code, not to talk to anyone about what they were doing and to keep in touch with him via mobile phone, with the dire warning they were being "watched".

Stephens, 29, said that the week before they left for Bali, he was taken to Chan's Enfield home and shortly afterwards Lawrence arrived and instructions were issued.

The next day, Stephens, Lawrence, Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen were taken by Chan's girlfriend Grace to meet Chan at a shopping centre.

Chan then went to a travel agency where he asked the price of an air ticket to Bali before withdrawing money which he gave to the group to pay for their tickets.

In his police statement, Stephens says he did not know what Chan was planning for him to do in Bali.

"I did not know because every time I asked Andrew Chan, he threatened me," Stephens told interrogators.

Stephens says that later that week he met Myuran Sukumaran, another alleged ringleader, for the first time.

He was also told: "Not to break any instructions otherwise I and my family, will be killed."

Asked why she had brought the heroin to Bali airport, Lawrence says: "Because Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran threatened to kill me and my family."

She said that three days before the trip to Bali, she was taken to the Formule 1 motel in Enfield by Chan, where she was later joined by Stephens, Chen and Norman.

She had been told to collect Norman and Chen from Strathfield railway station and escort them to the motel.

Then on April 5, the night before their flight to Bali, the group went out to the Ashfield Workers Club.

Asked if she had known the reason why Chan had paid for their holiday to Bali, Lawrence told police: "I only knew that I must do a job but I was not told what job would be given to me."

She said that once in Bali, the group communicated with mobile phones given to them but had to speak in code.

On April 16, Lawrence said Chan sent her an SMS message which read: "Later might take you out for a great dinner. Pray you don't get Bali belly." It meant the group would be going home soon.

On April 17, Norman came to the hotel where she and Stephens were staying and dropped off a bag with the warning: "Do not touch."

It was also revealed that Lawrence and Stephens did not meet the other two mules - Michael Czugaj, 20, and Scott Rush, 19 - until after their arrest on April 17.

Dressed to Nines for steps to fate
Cindy Wockner

AUTHORITIES have begun the final steps to have the Bali Nine heroin gang all charged with drug offences that carry death by firing squad.

Destination death row

The nine young Australians were taken yesterday from Bali's Kerobokan Jail to the Denpasar prosecutions office for their cases and the evidence to be officially handed to prosecutors.

The four accused mules -- Renae Lawrence, Martin Stephens, Scott Rush and Michael Czugaj -- were dressed smartly in shirts and ties while the other five were in shorts and T-shirts. Mr Stephens, 29, even sported a waistcoat.

The nine were asked to sign documents and watch as the 8.65kg of heroin they were allegedly carrying was unwrapped in front of them.

One of the alleged ringleaders, Andrew Chan, 21, remained defiant, denying that mobile phones were his.

All nine face one major charge of exporting drugs as part of syndicate and three lesser charges.

The accused mules were nabbed at Bali's international airport with a total 8.65kg of heroin strapped to their bodies on April 17.

Mr Chan was also arrested at the airport but had no heroin on him. The other four -- Matthew Norman, 18, Tan Nguyen, 20, Si Yi Chen, 20 and another alleged kingpin, Myuran Sukumaran, 24, were arrested at a Kuta hotel the same night. About 350g of heroin were found in their room.

Ms Lawrence and Mr Stephens maintained yesterday they were unwilling participants. "We had no choice to start with so if we could turn back the clock we would be still here," Ms Lawrence said.

Ms Lawrence, still wearing a bandage on her arm from a self-harm atempt, said they didn't even know it was heroin they were expecting to carry.

She said that threats against them and their families began in Australia before they left for Bali.

Up to seven separate trials are expected, with the first beginning in Denpasar District Court next month.

Bali accused says she'd 'do it again'
One of the Bali nine said she "would do it again" after Indonesian prosecutors announced that all will go to trial and face the death penalty on heroin trafficking charges.

Renae Lawrence is among four Australians caught at Bali airport in April with drugs strapped to their bodies while waiting for a flight to Australia.

Their lawyers repeated that the so-called airport four had tried to back out of the smuggling operation but were forced to go ahead after the gang's alleged ringleaders made death threats against them and their families.

"If I was in the same position. Yeah, I'd do it again," Lawrence, from Wallsend near Newcastle, told reporters at the Bali prosecutors office.

During Monday's proceedings, prosecutors displayed packets of the drugs, after which Lawrence said: "We didn't even know what it was."

Meanwhile, another of the airport four has turned to the champion of notorious Bali bomber and so-called "smiling assassin" Amrozi as the group moved closer to facing trial.

Wollongong man Martin Eric Stephens, 29, has appointed Jakarta criminal lawyer Wirawan Adnan as defence counsel.

Adnan represented Amrozi, who laughed when he was placed on death row for helping to plan and carry out the 2002 Bali nightclub bombings that killed 88 Australians among 202 mostly-foreign victims.

Adnan said Stephens had seemed reluctant to hire him, but did so on the advice of his parents Bill and Michelle.

"I met him today and I said, 'I've been sent by your parents'," Adnan told AAP.

"He was quite suspicious and reserved, but he said, 'I need all the lawyers I can get'."

Adnan said he was referred by the Stephens' family lawyer in Sydney, whom he had worked with before.

But he said it was only his third drug case in some 20 years of practising law, and his first involving a foreigner.

Adnan said he would work with Stephens' Bali-based lawyer Anggia Browne.

"Usually I try not to get involved in drug cases, but I am doing it because of the trust and confidence that the family's Australian lawyer showed in me, and because I believe Martin does not deserve the death penalty," Adnan said.

The controversial appointment occurred as Bali police officially handed over Stephens and his eight co-accused to the custody of prosecutors, along with dossiers detailing the charges against them and a small truckload of evidence.

The nine spent some four hours accompanied by their lawyers inside a large room at prosecution headquarters, appearing relaxed as they chatted and smoked.

Prosecutor Ida Bagus Wiswantanu - who successfully prosecuted Schapelle Corby earlier this year - said none of them cooperated when asked to confirm their police statements.

Stephens, dressed in a suit and tie for the outing, was unwilling to comment on whether he felt comfortable being represented by the lawyer for one of the Bali bombers.

He said he hoped Adnan would help him to receive a fair trial.

"Time will tell," he said after being bundled into a police van en route back to Kerobokan jail, where Amrozi and two of his co-conspirators are on death row.

The handover took the nine a step closer to facing court, with prosecutors and lawyers saying a series of seven trials should begin around the middle of next month.

Stephens would be tried separately along with three others making up the so-called airport four.

Alleged gang enforcer Andrew Chan and suspected mastermind Myuran Sukumaran, both from Sydney, would also face separate trials, while three other people arrested at a Kuta hotel would be tried together, their lawyer Rifan Mohammad said.

All nine face death by firing squad under section 82 of tough Indonesian anti-drug laws relating to possessing and distributing drugs, as well as conspiracy in a narcotics crime.

The airport four have told police they took part in the smuggling attempt under pressure from Chan and Sukumaran, who allegedly threatened to kill their families if they did not go through with it.

Destination death row
Cindy Wockner - in Denpasar - 16aug05

PLANE tickets bought in a shopping centre and several days spent in a western Sydney hotel were the genesis of nine young Australians embarking on a journey towards the death penalty.

In their own words, Renae Lawrence and Martin Stephens have told police about the days leading up to their fateful trip to Bali and how they came to be arrested at the holiday island's airport with a total of 8.65kg of heroin strapped to the bodies of four of them.

Their statements and comments yesterday, as prosecutors prepared to lay charges against them, shed new light on the case and on how so many young Australians come to be facing the death penalty.

Sitting in the Denpasar prosecutions office, the heroin on the desk in front of them, Ms Lawrence and Mr Stephens reiterated what they had said from day one -- they were threatened with death if they did not turn drug mules and agree to carry their share of the drug from Bali to Sydney.

Ms Lawrence, her arm still bandaged where she fractured it punching a wall in jail, said even if she had her time over she could change nothing.

"We had no choice to start with so if we could turn back the clock we would be still here," the 27-year-old said.

Mr Stephens said he "agreed on that".

Ms Lawrence said the pair had had no choice. "We didn't even know what it was," she said.

"Even if we had known what it was, we didn't have a choice. In Australia there was no choice, so it wasn't a matter of once we got here we couldn't turn back."

Similar comments appear in police statements made by both after their arrest, in which they also detail the days leading up to their arrival in Bali.

They tell how they were recruited to the plan by one of the alleged ringleaders, 21-year-old Andrew Chan, with whom they both worked, and the extent to which they say Mr Chan instructed them both in Sydney and in Bali.

They told police they were ordered to speak in code, not to talk to anyone about what they were doing and to keep in touch with him via mobile phone, with the dire warning that they were being "watched" to ensure the plan was carried out.

Mr Stephens, 29, tells how, one week before they left for Bali, he was taken to Mr Chan's Enfield home and shortly afterwards Ms Lawrence also arrived. Instructions were issued.

The next day, Mr Stephens, Ms Lawrence, Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen were taken by Mr Chan's girlfriend Grace to meet Mr Chan at a shopping centre.

Mr Chan then went to a travel agency where he asked the price of an air ticket to Bali before withdrawing money, which he then gave to the group to pay.

In his police statement, Mr Stephens says that he did not know what Mr Chan was planning for him to do in Bali.

"I did not know because every time I asked Andew Chan he threatened me and asked me to wait for his instructions," Mr Stephens told interrogators.

Later that week, Mr Stephens says he met Myuran Sukumaran, another alleged ringleader, for the first time and was instructed that he should pretend not to know any of the others involved in the alleged conspiracy.

He was also told: "Not to break any instructions otherwise me, I and my family, will be killed."

Ms Lawrence tells a similar tale in her interrogation statements.

Asked why she had brought the heroin to Bali airport, Ms Lawrence says: "Because Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran threatened to kill me and my family if I did not want to bring the heroin."

Ms Lawrence told police how, three days before their departure to Bali, she was taken by Mr Chan to the Formula 1 motel in Enfield, where she was later joined by Mr Stephens, Mr Chen and Mr Norman.

She had been instructed to collect Mr Norman and Mr Chen from Strathfield Railway station and take them to the hotel.

Then on April 5, the night before their flight to Bali, the group went out to the Ashfield Workers Club.

Asked if she had known the reason why Mr Chan had paid for their holiday to Bali, Ms Lawrence told police: "I only knew that I must do a job but I was not told what job would be given to me."

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE NEWS PAGE
FREEDOM IS A RIGHT OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS IN A WORLD WHERE LIFE IS VALUED AND PEACE MAY FINALLY BE A POSSIBILITY
*
MAKE A DONATION
*
TELL A FRIEND
*
HOME | CAMPAIGNS | PRISONERS/PRISONS | EXPERIENCES | BOOKS/PRODUCTS | HOW TO HELP | NEWS | EMAIL
Just in case you forgot - read the Universal declaration of Human Rights
All information is Copyright 1997 - 2005 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise - Click here for the legal stuff