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Bali nine families fight back
By Catharine Munro in Bali and Erin O'Dwyer - October 9, 2005


Stony-faced ... Christine and Lee Rush visit their son Scott in Kerobokan jail yesterday Photo: Wade Laube
Relatives of the Bali nine have defied travel warnings about Indonesia and have begun arriving on the island before this week's drug smuggling trials.

The families of Scott Rush and Myuran Sukumaran visited the accused heroin smugglers in Kerobokan jail yesterday.

The mother of Michael Czugaj and the father of Renae Lawrence are expected in the next few days.

Lee Rush, father of Scott, made headlines yesterday when it was revealed he had tipped off the Australian Federal Police that his son was going to Indonesia to commit drug offences.

The AFP allegedly reneged on a promise to stop him, and instead helped Indonesian authorities arrest Rush and the other eight members of the gang.

Mr Rush refused to discuss his sensational allegation. Accompanied by his wife, Christine, and carrying supplies for their son in plastic bags and a briefcase of documents, Mr Rush was stony-faced and silent on his arrival at Kerobokan jail.

The Rush family brought an action against the AFP in the Australian Federal Court on Friday, and the application is expected to be heard in Darwin tomorrow.

The family of Lawrence has also begun legal proceedings over what they say is the denial of procedural fairness over the arrests and the legality of the AFP's conduct under Australian law.

The AFP will contest the assertions in court. It issued a statement yesterday saying the organisation acted appropriately and legally at all times.

Rush's Indonesian lawyer, Robert Kuana, confirmed yesterday that Mr Rush's attempt to save his son probably led to the arrest of the Bali nine.

Revelations of the legal action against the AFP have shocked the friends and family of the other Bali nine. The brother of Sukumaran, 24, who took a parcel of Western food to the jail yesterday, refused to comment. But the sister of 19-year-old Czugaj said she was "shocked".

Speaking from her Brisbane home, Melanie Czugaj revealed how last weekend's bombings had threatened her mother's latest dash to see her son ahead of his trial. But with her son still in a fragile state, Vicky Czugaj has vowed to flout new travel warnings, which advise Australians to stay away. She will fly out of Brisbane today.

Bob Lawrence, who will arrive in Bali tomorrow, said he wanted to meet AFP commissioner Mick Keelty face-to-face following Mr Rush's revelations. Mr Lawrence said his daughter should have been arrested on Australian soil.

"These kids were forced into this," Mr Lawrence said. "They should have been either arrested at the airport here or followed to get the big guys."

The first of the Bali nine will appear in court on Tuesday, with the others set to follow during the week.

Their trial will be at the Denpasar District Court where all nine will face charges of possession and trafficking heroin, and all face the death penalty.

The trial will be held under the Indonesian civil law system. There will be no jury and the defendants cannot enter a plea. Instead, one or more judges will decide their fate.

Bali 9 pair to sue Police
7.10.2005. 16:05:59

Two of the Bali Nine accused drug smugglers are taking legal action against the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Renae Lawrence and Scott Rush have launched action in the Federal Court in Darwin, seeking records and documents that led to their arrest in Bali in April.

Lawyers for the duo, claim the AFP provided assistance to the Indonesian police that led to their arrest, "which thereby exposed them to the prospect of the imposition of the death penalty".

In an application to the court, the pair claim that under a treaty between Indonesia and Australia, Australian authorities must refuse a request for assistance if it involves charges where the death penalty may be imposed, unless there are special circumstances.

Lawrence and Rush launched an application seeking records, notes, internal memos and any other documents assisting the Indonesian police in the investigation against them.

The application said the pair may seek "declaratory relief as to the denial of procedural fairness" and the legality of the AFP's conduct under Australian law.

The matter is due to be heard on Monday in Darwin.

Lawrence and Rush were among four Australians arrested and detained at Denpasar International Airport on April 17 just prior to boarding a flight to Sydney.

Four other Australians were arrested at the Melasti hotel in Bali, and another Australian, Andrew Chan, was detained on the Qantas plane.

All nine are being held in Kerobokan Jail in Bali and are due to face trial on drugs charges in the Denpasar District Court next week.

Father defended over Bali Nine tip-off
October 8, 2005 - 5:39PM

When the father of one of the Bali Nine sought help from Australian Federal Police to stop his son committing a drug crime in Indonesia, he unwittingly triggered the arrest of the whole group, a lawyer said.

Fearing his son Scott would be arrested during a trip to Bali in mid-April, Lee Rush asked federal police to stop him leaving Australia, Scott's Indonesian lawyer Robert Kuana said.

However, instead of keeping a promise to intercept the Brisbane teenager, the AFP tipped off Indonesian authorities, who put him and eight co-accused under surveillance and arrested them red-handed on April 17, Kuana said.

They are facing the death penalty on charges of conspiring to export heroin from Bali to Sydney.

Scott was arrested at Denpasar airport along with three others allegedly carrying between 1.3 and 2.9kg of heroin strapped to their bodies as they prepared to board a Sydney-bound plane.

Accused gang enforcer Andrew Chan was arrested on board the plane with no drugs on him.

Another four, including the alleged ringleader, Sydney man Myuran Sukumaran, were arrested at a Kuta hotel.

The nine are scheduled to face Denpasar District Court next week in a series of seven separate trials.

Asked if Lee Rush's approach to the AFP led to the arrest of the whole group, Kuana said, "Yes. I think so, Yes."

He said Rush had a bad feeling about Scott's trip because of the recent arrest of several other Australians on drugs charges in Bali.

"He's trying to protect his son, what can he do? He call his lawyer," Kuana said after visiting Scott with his parents at Kerobokan jail.

The Rush's would not speak to journalists. News of their attempt to stop Scott leaving Australia has cast doubt on previous claims that the four alleged mules were innocent victims of a drug gang.

Lawyers for the four have claimed they tried to pull out of the operation but were threatened that their families would be killed if they did.

Kuana said Scott's parents sought AFP help in preventing his arrest after he disappeared for a week in early April.

During that time, a travel agent left a message on their answering machine that Scott's ticket to Bali was ready.

Alarmed that Scott was planning the trip without informing them, Lee Rush approached the AFP through a friend, lawyer Robert Meyers.

Meyers asked a friend in the drugs section of the AFP to help. The officer allegedly said he would warn Scott he was under surveillance, to deter him from committing any crime.

No warning ever came, Kuana said.

"The parents think there is no action from the Australian Federal Police to stop him ,even though they told police before Scott even picked up his plane ticket," Kuana said.

The AFP's controversial role in the group's arrest is now the basis of an application before the Federal Court in Darwin.

Scott and co-accused Renae Lawrence, 27 of Newcastle, have launched action against the AFP for alleged "denial of procedural fairness".

They claim the AFP provided assistance to Indonesian police that led to their arrest in Bali, exposing them to the death penalty.

Under a treaty between Indonesia and Australia, such assistance was illegal, they claim.

Kuana said he hoped the Bali judges would consider the Federal Court application when hearing Scott's case.

However, Lawrence's lawyer Haposan Sihombing said he would probably object if prosecutors tried to present the application as evidence in relation to defence claims that the four accused were unwitting couriers.

In order for Bali prosecutors to call Lee Rush as a possible witness, they would have to show the court that they had new, relevant evidence.

"We can say that there is no chance of new witnesses," Sihombing said.

"If they try to call Scott's father, we can object." Prosecutors were not available for comment.

AFP border and international national manager Frank Prendergast has defended the conduct of officials.

"The AFP can confirm that it became aware of contact made by the family of Scott Rush to a Queensland police officer after the commencement of an Indonesian national police investigation in Bali," Mr Prendergast said in a statement.

"During the course of investigations relating to the disruption of a drug importation syndicate and the arrest of individuals allegedly involved, the AFP acted appropriately at all times and in accordance with legal and police regulations."

Mr Prendergast said international cooperation between law enforcement agencies was essential in combating transnational crime.

"If Australia was only to work cooperatively with countries that have identical judicial systems to ours the AFP would not be able to effectively combat transnational crimes such as drug trafficking, people smuggling, terrorism and child sex tourism," he said.

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