[Deathpenalty]death penalty news --- worldwide
j_sommer at gmx.net
Mon Apr 18 11:46:35 CDT 2005
death penalty news
April 18, 2005
Aussies face the death penalty in Bali
Nine Australians arrested in a dramatic Bali heroin bust will face a firing
squad if convicted of trying to smuggle drugs out of Indonesia and into
Australia, the head of the island's police anti-drugs squad has said.
Australian consular officials said it was "by far" the largest number of
drug-related detentions of Australians ever in Indonesia.
The nine - eight men and one woman - were nabbed by Indonesian authorities
on Sunday night following an Australian Federal Police operation dating
back to February.
Five were arrested in the departure lounge of Bali airport while waiting
for a flight to Sydney, allegedly with bags of heroin strapped to their
bodies, Colonel Bambang Sugiarto told AAP.
Others, including an alleged drug ring boss, were caught at two hotels.
He said the case mirrored that of Gold Coast woman and alleged marijuana
trafficker Schapelle Corby, but was far more serious as it involved
category one drugs.
"It involves exporting or importing drugs. If found guilty, death penalty,"
No charges have yet been laid.
Colonel Sugiarto said the police surveillance operation which led to the
arrests had been mounted on two hotels, the beachfront Hard Rock resort in
Kuta and the nearby Melasti Hotel in Tuban.
Following a week-long operation, police approached the five in the airport
departure lounge around 7pm on Sunday where they were relaxed and reading
newspapers waiting to board an Australian Airlines flight to Sydney.
They were asked to undergo a body search.
Four were allegedly found with 2kg packages of heroin strapped to their
legs with brown masking tape, while another had the drug stash taped across
An Indonesian lawyer for the five caught at the airport, Rifan Mohammad,
said one of his clients had claimed not to have been carrying drugs.
An AFP spokesman said the four allegedly carrying the drugs included two
men from Brisbane, both aged 19, a 29-year-old man from Sydney and a
27-year-old woman from Sydney.
She said a fifth person - a 21-year-old man from Sydney - was also arrested
at the airport.
Soon after, four other men were taken into custody at a Bali hotel - a
27-year-old Brisbane man, and three men from Sydney aged 18, 20 and 24.
In Canberra, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said the arrests were made
in Indonesia - and not in Australia where there is no death penalty -
because that was where the alleged offences occurred.
Colonel Sugiarto said prior to the search one man claimed to have had a
broken leg, which accounted for a bulge in his clothing.
But after questioning all allegedly confessed they had been carrying the
drugs for their "boss".
Police then raided the Melasti Hotel and arrested another four people found
with sandwich-sized blocks of heroin. Traces of the drug were also found in
two suitcases, police alleged.
Colonel Sugiarto said the drugs had come from the notorious "Golden
Triangle" area in northern Thailand and Burma, and was being couriered
through Bali to Australia by the nine.
The boss of the smuggling gang was believed to be among those arrested at
the hotel and police believed other gang members may be still on the run in
Bali, he said.
Colonel Sugiarto said the gang had been acting "mysterious and suspicious"
all week, staying in their hotel rooms and instructing hotel staff not to
reveal their identities to anyone.
Police had not fingerprinted the drugs at the airport because the gang had
been caught "red-handed", he said.
He said all were Australians, but at least three had been of "Asian descent".
Police were still testing the drugs for strength.
Police allowed photographers and television cameras into a room where the
nine were being interrogated, but all covered their faces with bags or
Investigators also released a number of suitcases and backpacks they said
were not needed as evidence.
Indonesia has increasingly become not only a transit route, but also a
market for drug traffickers and courts across the country have passed a
dozen death sentences on foreigners found guilty of serious drug offences
in recent years.
At least 53 people are believed to be on death row. The arrests come amid
strains between Indonesia and Australia over the trial of Schapelle Corby,
who claims she was set up as an unwitting courier for 4.1 kg of marijuana.
Australian government minister have lobbied Indonesia to avert a death
sentence for the 27-year-old former beauty student.
Indonesia's chief foreign affairs spokesman Marty Natalegawa said the
latest drug bust in Bli would not threaten slowly improving diplomatic
"This is clearly an issue of drugs and drug smuggling. There is no doubt
that - Indonesians and Australians - we are all against that," he said.
He said it would have been unimaginable to allow the suspects to fly to
"... where an alleged offence is committed, that's where charges will be
brought," he said.
Mr Downer said he did not believe the arrests would have any bearing on the
case involving charges against Australian Schapelle Corby after she was
allegedly caught trying to smuggle 4.1kg of cannabis into Bali.
"There's no relationship between the alleged facts in this case and the
alleged facts in the Schapelle Corby case," he said.
Mr Downer said that although there were only allegations against the nine
Australians, it was timely to note the serious of attempting to traffic drugs.
"This is yet another ... clear message to all Australians that drug
trafficking is not only immoral, because of the consequences for the people
who consume the drugs, but it is also a profoundly serious criminal offence.
"People who contemplate trafficking in drugs do face very, very severe
(source: The Age, Australia)
Talabani opposed to Saddam death penalty
The newly-elected president of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, has said he would
refuse to sign a death warrant for the former leader of the country, Saddam
In an interview with the BBC, Mr Talabani, a Kurdish lawyer and human
rights advocate, said he was a long-standing opponent of capital punishment
and could not condone sentencing the former Iraqi leader to death.
However, he acknowledged that he was likely to be outvoted by his
colleagues on the three-man collective presidency who will make the final
decision on the former dictator's fate following his trial.
(source: RTE News, Ireland)
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