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| On death row in Bali, Scott Rush prays for last appeal |
TOM ALLARD, BALI -
July 17, 2010
UNABLE to sleep yesterday morning in Kerobokan prison's death tower and aware his final legal appeal was about to be lodged against his death sentence, Scott Rush composed a letter, one of many he has sent to Australian MP Chris Hayes.
''This is likely to be my last chance to write to you before I know whether I live or die,'' he wrote. ''I am not a celebrity, I am a criminal deserving just punishment.''
It was a characteristic sentiment of the youngest member of the Bali nine drug ring, and one of three on death row.
For his family, supporters and team of Indonesian and Australian lawyers , ''just punishment'' is not death but a 15-year jail term, the central plank of the appeal.
They have put together a compelling case. In an extraordinary development, they have persuaded Mick Phelan, the man who headed the Australian Federal Police investigation into the Bali nine and tipped off Indonesian authorities, to come to Bali to testify on his behalf.
Rush's father, Lee, suspicious his son dabbling in drugs, had pleaded with the AFP before Scott took the fateful trip to Bali to stop him travelling.
The AFP was pilloried for its behaviour and much pressure has been put on the police to do what they can for Rush.
Among others testifying for Rush will be an Australian-based Muslim cleric, Suliman Sabdia, Catholic priest Father Tim Harris and Judge John North, his former solicitor.
Judge North received a letter from former AFP commissioner Mick Keelty acknowledging that Rush had been a minor player.
Mr Phelan, now a deputy commissioner, has also provided a sworn statement, stressing that Rush was only a courier and this was ''his first involvement'' in drug importation.
''Given recent sentencing history in Australia for similar offences, it is highly likely that a sentence much lesser than the maximum of 25 years would have been imposed on Scott Anthony Rush if he had been prosecuted in Australia,'' it says.
The AFP evidence will be pivotal to Rush's case, which rests in large part on proving he was only a courier. It also constitutes new evidence, a requirement under Indonesian law for a review of a death sentence.
Other key arguments are that other Bali nine members who played similar roles were given lighter sentences, and that Indonesian law requires the death penalty to be applied selectively.
Professor Andrew Byrnes, of the University of New South Wales, who is recognised by Indonesia's Constitutional Court as an impartial expert on international law and the death penalty, has also provided a submission and will testify for Rush.
Rush is unaware of much of the detail of his case, including Mr Phelan's testimony.
''I truly feel sorry for the hurt and pain I've caused to my parents. I hope to have the chance to prove I am capable of reform. I want to give back to my community and be an ambassador against drugs,'' he writes to Mr Hayes, Labor member for Werriwa in NSW. ''Please say a prayer for me, and remember me to your wife Bernadette. I continue to pray every day and night.''
| Scott Rush launches final appeal |
ADAM GARTRELL, INDONESIA CORRESPONDENT -
July 16, 2010
Australian Federal Police are supporting Bali Nine drug mule Scott Rush's final appeal against his death sentence.
Rush's lawyers on Friday finally lodged his long-awaited judicial review, also known as a PK, in the Denpasar District Court.
The appeal pushes for a 15-year sentence for Rush, one of nine Australians convicted over a 2005 plot to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin out of Bali.
The appeal seeks to prove Rush was only a minor player in the plot and does not deserve the same punishment as ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, also on death row.
"He was just a courier," Rush's lawyer Frans Hendra Winata told AAP after lodging the appeal on Friday.
"He doesn't deserve to be put to death."
Rush was just 19 when he was arrested at Denpasar airport with more than a kilogram of heroin strapped to his body.
He was originally sentenced to life in prison before Indonesia's Supreme Court unexpectedly increased the penalty to death.
Of the six Bali Nine couriers, Rush, now 24, is the only one facing death.
His judicial review relies heavily on letters from former AFP commissioner Mick Keelty and current AFP deputy commissioner Michael Phelan.
Mr Keelty's letter, written before his retirement last year, makes it clear Rush was just a courier.
"There is no indication that Scott was an organiser or aware of the scale of the organisation behind the volume of drug importations," he says.
Mr Keelty and the AFP faced heavy criticism for tipping off Indonesian authorities about the Bali Nine, thereby subjecting them to possible death sentences, instead of arresting them in Australia.
Rush's lawyers hope Mr Phelan will travel to Bali to testify personally in Rush's defence.
It's believed lawyers will call several other witnesses for fresh hearings in Bali before the appeal is sent to the supreme court for a decision.
That decision could come within months.
If the appeal fails Rush will be forced to seek clemency from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who typically shows no mercy to drug smugglers.
The federal government has previously said it would support his clemency plea.
Chan and Sukumaran are also expected to launch their judicial reviews this year.
Five others - Matthew Norman, Martin Stephens, Michael Czugaj, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Than Nguyen - are serving life sentences and also planning fresh appeals.
Courier Renae Lawrence is serving a 20-year sentence.
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