Indonesian drug death sentence judges ‘corrupt’

Australia wants corruption allegations against Indonesian judges investigated before their death sentences against two Australian drug traffickers are carried out, the foreign minister has said.

The Australians, Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, are among 10 drug traffickers who were given 72-hour notices over the weekend that they will be executed by a firing squad, possibly today.

Indonesia say the Australians have exhausted all avenues of appeal.

However, foreign minister Julie Bishop argued that the men should not be executed while they have an unresolved case before Indonesia’s Constitutional Court and while Indonesia’s Judicial Commission investigates claims of corruption in the pair’s original trial.

According to Australia’s Fairfax Media, Sukumaran and Chan’s original Indonesian lawyer, Muhammad Rifan, says the trial judges had asked for 1m rupiah (€70) to pass sentences of less than 20 years.

Rifan alleged the deal fell through after the judges later said that they had been ordered by senior legal and government figures to impose the death penalty.

Rifan said the judges then “started asking for a lot more money” to provide a lesser sentence, but the pair did not have any more money, Fairfax Media reported yesterday.

The pair were sentenced to death in February 2006 for their leading roles in an Australian smuggling group dubbed the Bali Nine.

They were arrested in 2005 after a tip-off from Australian police while trying to smuggle more than 8kg of heroin from Bali to Sydney. The rest were sentenced to prison terms.

Sukumaran and Chan have provided sworn statements to the Judicial Commission, which safeguards the probity of judges, Fairfax Media reported.

Bishop said she contacted her Indonesian counterpart, Retno Marsudi, to prevent the executions.

She said the Australians should not be killed while two legal cases were outstanding.

“There have been some allegations made in relation to the trial and I said that Australia, indeed the international community, would expect those legal processes to be concluded before any other action was taken,” Bishop told reporters in Sydney of her conversation with Marsudi.

“I would anticipate that both proceedings — the Constitutional Court proceedings and the Judicial Commission — would require to hear evidence.

“I would anticipate that they would need to hear evidence from Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran, and therefore, my request that these proceedings be allowed to continue and that there be a stay of execution.”

Australian prime minister Tony Abbott continued to lobby Indonesia, saying it was not too late for Indonesia to have a change of heart.

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