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Bali 9 executed


Two Bali 9 Australians and 6 other foreigners were executed.

Indonesia has executed eight prisoners who were sentenced to death for drug trafficking, including foreigners from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and Ghana.

The killings were carried out at 12.30am, local time, on the prison island of Nusa Kambangan off the coast of Java.

Particularly the cases of Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, convicted in 2006 as the leaders of the Bali 9, caught the attention of global media.

Australia among other countries has criticized the death sentences against the two Australians sharply in recent months. Sukumaran and Chan were the leaders of the Bali Nine, and were convicted for heroin trafficking.

The family members of the two Australians visited them on Tuesday for a last farewell. Sukumaran's mother Raji pleaded tearfully to the President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, to spare her son.

Chan was granted his last wish on Monday and married in prison his Indonesian partner. On Tuesday coffins were brought to the prison of Nusakambangan, an island in the south of Java.

Filipino woman Mary Jane Veloso, the ninth prisoner scheduled to be executed by a firing squad received a reprieve. She was arrested on Java in Yogyakarta in 2010 with almost 3kg of heroin in her luggage. She insists she got set-up by another woman.
A government spokesman said her execution has been postponed temporarily so she could testify against this other person.

The execution of a Frenchman, also sentenced to death for drug smuggling, who was to be executed at the same time originally, got postponed. A court will consider a new entry due to sharp protests from the French Government.

Indonesia is among the countries with the strictest drug laws worldwide. In January, six people were under international protest executed for drug offenses, including five foreigners.

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THE BALI NINE - what happened

The Bali Nine is the popular name given to a group of nine Australians arrested on 17 April 2005 in Bali. They got caught in the attempt to to smuggle more than 8 kg (18 lb) of heroin back to Australia at a market value of about A$4 million. All of these Bali Nine were aged between 18 and 28 by the time they got arrested. They faced the death penalty or life in prison if convicted.

In February 2006 seven of the nine were sentenced to life imprisonment. The two leaders of the Bali Nine Group, Chan and Sukumaran, were sentenced to death. This was the very first death sentence imposed by the Denpasar District Court in Bali.
A couple of months later for 4 their life sentences were reduced to 20-year on appeal.

In January 2015 the new president, Jokowi, turned down Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott together with the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and denied clemency for the two ring leaders. Jokowi, otherwise known as a moderate democratic leader did not give in, which surprised many observers who had hopes that the new president of Indonesia would no doubt save the lives of Chan and Sukarman.

On 2 February 2015, Indonesia's Attorney General confirmed that both will face the firing squad in the next round of executions.

The Role of AFP

Since the execution The Australian Federal Police (AFP) gets under increasing pressure to explain its role in the Bali Nine’s arrest in Indonesia in 2005.

The AFP knew about the plans of the Bali Nine to smuggle large amounts of drugs back into Australia. And although they were very aware that not only Indonesia but many other countries surrounding countries do have and do execute at times the death penalty, still they shared intelligence with Indonesian law enforcement bodies about he planned crime of the Bali Nine group. This lead to the arrest of the Bali 9 and which led ultimately to the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Officials reported in a press conference a week after the execution, that AFP had since the arrest of the Bali Nine, changed rules on how to interact and work with countries on drug trafficking that do have the death penalty in place. However, the AFP insisted that their main goal is to stop lethal drugs entering Australia.

AFP faces intense criticism not only from the media but also from government officials for its role in tipping off Indonesia, particularly since the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

It was Barrister Bob Myers, who tipped off the AFP off about the Bali Nine member, Scott Rush. Myers said in February 2015, that the police had not a legal but a moral obligation to ensure a waiver of the death penalty as a condition for sharing intelligence. He further said, that the AFP would have known that executions were not unlikely. A day after Myers informing the AFP, an agent wrote to his Indonesian counterparts requesting surveillance, and suggesting they should take what action they deem appropriate.

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