Myuran Sukumaran

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Myuran Sukumaran
Born (1981-04-17) 17 April 1981 (age 33)
London, England
Other names Bali Nine
Criminal charge
Drug trafficking
Criminal penalty
Death
Criminal status
Imprisoned (Indonesia)
Conviction(s) Drug trafficking

Myuran Sukumaran (Tamil: (மயூரன் சுகுமாரன்) (born 17 April 1981 in London, England) is an Australian who was convicted in Indonesia for drug trafficking as a member of the Bali Nine. In 2005, Sukumaran was arrested in a room at the Melasti Hotel in Kuta with three others. Police found 334 g (11.8 oz) of heroin in a suitcase in the room. According to court testimonies of convicted drug mules, Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were the alleged co-ringleaders of the heroin-smuggling operation from Indonesia to Australia. After a criminal trial, Sukumaran was sentenced to execution by firing squad on 14 February 2006 by the Denpasar District Court.

After lodging an appeal against his sentence, Sukumaran's appeal was initially dismissed by the Bali High Court. A judicial review conducted by the Indonesian Supreme Court on 6 July 2011 affirmed the death sentence.[1][2] Unless granted clemency by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Sukumaran is expected to face execution.[3] Sukumaran is currently in Kerobokan Prison awaiting the commutation of the sentence.[4]

Alleged trafficking conspiracy[edit]

Media reports based on the testimony of co-conspirator, Renae Lawrence, claim that she met Sukumaran through Andrew Chan. Sukumaran and Chan both attended Homebush Boys High School but with four school years apart.[5] Sukumaran, from Auburn in the Inner West of Sydney, commenced university studies but dropped out[5] and worked in the mail room[6] at State Street Corporation, an American investment bank, and later the passport office in Sydney.[citation needed] Sometimes referred to in the media as a "martial arts expert" or "the enforcer", Sukumaran trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.[7]

In an interview broadcast on SBS TV's Dateline following his sentencing and appeal, Sukumaran said:

Well, basically a friend of mine that I went to uni with asked me to come to a dinner and asked me if I wanted to join a gang. I sort of laughed at that. I was never involved in this in high school, yeah. I was, like, yeah, I'll come to dinner, sitting around dinner, they were talking about all this type of stuff. It was kind of funny to me, like, they pay for dinner and the nightclub afterwards and stuff like that so I was like "Yeah"........ it's just the lifestyle, all the people that were living, you know you want to be like those people, get the girls like those people, and I was hoping to buy a car, hoping to start a business. Those are the sort of the things like I didn't see, like, myself working in the mail room for the next 50 years of my life. I thought "No, I can't do this", then you see all these people like in night clubs with nice BMWs, and nice Mercedes and there's always chicks there, and they was buying drinks for everyone and you think "Fuck", how do you do this on a mail room salary.[6][8]

According to Lawrence, following earlier alleged threats from Chan, on 5 April 2005 Sukumaran met with Si Yi Chen, Martin Stephens, and Lawrence at a Sydney hotel where police allege drug smuggling tools such as sealable plastic bags, medical tape, elastic waist bands and skin tight bike shorts were stuffed into the bags of Stephens and Lawrence. Lawrence claimed she was given cash; whilst Stephens claimed that his life was threatened.[9] The following day, Sukumaran allegedly provided another group with cash for airflight tickets.[9]

On arrival in Bali, Sukumaran checked into the Hard Rock Hotel, where Chan had already arrived. Other members of the Bali Nine were staying at other hotels across Kuta. It is unclear what Sukumaran's movements were whilst in Bali. In the evening of Sunday 17 April, appearing like tourists, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Chen and Matthew Norman checked into the Melasti Hotel. Sukumaran, who was also with them, with his bags, left the bags with the others as he decided to go back to the Hard Rock Hotel complex.[10]

Arrest in Indonesia[edit]

Sukumaran was arrested on 17 April 2005, the day of his 24th birthday, at the Melasti Hotel in Kuta with Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Si Yi Chen and Matthew Norman. Indonesian police claim the group were in possession of 334 g (11.8 oz) of heroin and bundles of plastic wrapping, Elastoplast tape, and a set of scales, indicating involvement in a plan to transport drugs to Australia.[11]

Earlier that day at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Indonesian police also arrested the following drug mules after they were found carrying various amounts of heroin concealed on their bodies. Martin Stephens was found to be carrying 3.3 kg (7.3 lb); Renae Lawrence was found to be carrying 2.689 kg (5.93 lb); Michael Czugaj was found to be carrying 1.75 kg (3.9 lb) and Scott Rush was found to be carrying 1.3 kg (2.9 lb) of heroin. Alleged co-ringleader, Andrew Chan, was also arrested the same day whilst seated on an Australian Airlines flight waiting to depart Denpasar for Sydney. At the time Chan was arrested, he was carrying three mobile phones and a boarding pass. No drugs were found in his possession.[12]

Sukumaran denied any involvement with the heroin seized at the airport or any heroin located at the premises upon his arrest.[13][dead link] Up until his arrest in Indonesia, Australian and Indonesian police did not know the identity of the "dark skinned man".[14] Indonesian police speculated that Sukumaran was Chan's bodyguard, because they were always together.

Criticism of Australian Federal Police tipoff[edit]

Lee Rush, the father of Scott Rush, a fellow member of the Bali Nine, said that he contacted the Australian Federal Police (AFP) prior to the commission of the offence, fearing his son was travelling to Bali and would commit a drug-related crime. Rush senior claims then to have received assurances from the AFP that they would tell his son he was under surveillance to dissuade him from going through with the crime before the group's departure from Indonesia.

Scott Rush's lawyers said he was never contacted. It was revealed that the AFP alerted Indonesian police that a crime was to be committed approximately two weeks before the arrests, and had commenced an investigation about ten weeks prior to the arrests.[15][16][17] When the Bali Nine were arrested, the news of the tipoff became public[18] and there was criticism of the role of the AFP in protecting the interests of Australian citizens.[17] Commenting on the matter at the time, AFP Commissioner Mick Keelty was reported as saying:

One of the things we've got to remember is that we operate within our criminal-justice system here in Australia, and if we only co-operated with countries that had the same criminal-justice system, then our co-operation wouldn't extend very far beyond Australia. We have to work with the systems that operate in other countries, and to a large degree this has been successful, certainly in terms of heroin trafficking.[19]

Rush took action in the Federal Court of Australia against the AFP for breach of the bilateral treaty between Indonesia and Australia when information was handed by the AFP to the Indonesians. Rush's case claimed that such information should only be released by the Attorney-General. However, the Commonwealth Government maintained that the treaty only applies after a suspect is charged.[20] The application was dismissed by the Federal Court in January 2006.

Criminal trial[edit]

Criminal trials for the accused commenced in the Denpasar District Court on 11 October 2005. Chen, Nguyen, and Norman were tried together, with Sukumaran being one of the remaining six defendants tried separately. In December 2005, as the trials began, it was reported that tensions were building between the Bali Nine drug mules and Sukumaran and Chan.[21] Several days later, lawyers acting for some members of the Bali Nine initially sought the support of the Director of Public Prosecutions to intervene and lay charges for conspiracy to import drugs, so that the nine could be extradited and charged under Australian law.[22] However, the judges hearing the trial matters in Bali called for Australia not to intervene in Indonesia's right to impose capital punishment,[23] with Australian lawyers counter-claiming that the fairness of the trial was in jeopardy.[24]

During the trial of Czugaj, Sukumaran refused to give testimony, stating "...I am also on trial."[25] During his trial, Sukumaran denied knowing Czugaj and Rush, or any knowledge of a heroin importation plan, and frequently blamed amnesia on his inability to remember events leading to his arrest.[26] Sukumaran denied signing police statements, and when asked by judges to sign his name as an example of his signature, signed his name in four different styles.[25] During his testimony, Sukumaran claimed he met Nguyen on the flight to Bali, and went out drinking with him, Chen, Norman and Chan whilst in Bali.[26]

Sentencing and appeal[edit]

On 24 January 2006, prosecutors called for the death penalty to be handed down on Sukumaran, the first time a demand of death was put forward by prosecutors for any of the Bali Nine. Days later, prosecutors advanced the same call followed for Chan. Prosecutors told a Bali court there was no reason to show any leniency towards Sukumaran because he helped organise the heroin smuggling operation. Prosecutors also claim Sukumaran and Chan strapped heroin to the bodies of the fellow accused. Indonesian police identified Sukumaran as one of the main players in what they say was a major smuggling ring.[27][28]

Found guilty of drug trafficking, on 14 February 2006, three judges in the Denpasar District Court sentenced Sukumaran to death by firing squad.[29][30][31]

Despite being relatively free of emotion during criminal proceedings, on the day verdicts were handed down, Sukumaran lunged at photographers.[32] The sentencing was carried live on Australian television as Sukumaran and Chan both showed little emotion during the proceedings.[33] Commenting on the sentences at the time, Australian Federal Police Commissioner Keelty stated:

"I stand by the police and what they've done … The Federal Court actually made a decision saying not only had they acted lawfully but they acted in accordance with government policy."[34]

Australian Prime Minister John Howard was reported as commenting:

"The police are there to protect us from the ravages of drugs and I just hope that every young Australian who might in their wildest imagination think that they can get away with this will take a lesson from this"[34] and "I feel desperately sorry for the parents of these people. I do. All of us as parents will feel that way, but the warnings have been there for decades" and "We are against the death penalty..... We will make, in an appropriate way, at the appropriate time, representations."[35][36]

It was also reported that the Australian government had, since December 2005, used diplomatic channels to plead with the Indonesian government that the death penalty not be sought.[36] Following the handing down of the death sentence for both Sukumaran and Chan, The New Zealand Herald speculated the circumstances under which the execution would occur.[37]

Julian McMahon, a Melbourne human rights lawyer who took over the case in 2006 on a pro-bono basis,[6] appealed against the severity of Sukumaran's sentence to the Indonesian Supreme Court. During the appeal hearings, it was revealed that the governor of Kerobokan Prison described Sukumaran and Chan as model prisoners[38] and that Sukumaran and Chan have a positive influence on other prisoners.[4] In the meantime, the Australian Government elected to not intervene until the outcome of the appeals was known.[36][39]

On 7 July 2011, it was announced that the Indonesian Supreme Court had rejected Sukumaran's appeal against his death sentence.[1][2][3] Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) has the power to grant clemency, although some media reports consider this unlikely and expect that Sukamaran will be executed.[40][41][42]

Prison life[edit]

Sukumaran teaches English, computer, graphic design and philosophy classes to prisoners.[43] Sukumaran was instrumental in opening up a computer and art room and also pushed unsuccessfully for an accountancy and law course to be set up. Sukumaran is doing a fine arts degree by correspondence with Curtin University.[44] He also started a business which sells artworks and a clothing brand called Kingpin Clothing.[6][45][46]

Sukumaran has been appointed head of a group of over 20 prisoners, including those facing execution and housed in the prison's maximum security wing. His role includes assigning tasks to prisoners under him, liaising with the guards, resolving disputes and overseeing modest penalties for those who transgress in their jobs cleaning, gardening and making small repairs in the prison.[4]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Caldwell, Alison (7 July 2011). "Australian drug smuggler loses death sentence appeal" (transcript). AM (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Allard, Tom (7 July 2011). "Bali Nine member loses final appeal". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Bali Nine ringleader Myuran Sukumaran 'calm' after death appeal loss". The Australian. AAP. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 7 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c Allard, Tom (23 January 2010). "Lives transformed in shadow of death". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Wockner, Cindy (5 May 2013). "Cindy Wockner takes an exclusive look at life inside death row for the Bali Nine". News.com.au. 
  6. ^ a b c d Davis, Mark (14 November 2010). "The Condemned". Dateline (Australia). Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Allard, Tom (23 January 2010). "Life on death row". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  8. ^ Clune, Richard (14 November 2010). "Bali Nine smuggler Myuran Sukumaran was desperate for the high life". The Sunday Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  9. ^ a b Palmer, Tim (10 October 2005). "Bali 9 documents lay out alleged conspiracy" (transcript). 7.30 Report (Australia). Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  10. ^ Denpasar, Bali (19 April 2005). "Busted Aussies 'acted like tourists'". The Age. AAP. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  11. ^ McMahon, Neil; Forbes, Mark (19 November 2005). "A crooked trail of greed and naivety". The Age. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  12. ^ Cornford, Philip (23 April 2005). "How the trap snapped shut". The Age. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  13. ^ The Herald Sun (Australia) http://www.heraldsun.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5478,17488362%5E661,00.html |url= missing title (help). [dead link]
  14. ^ "Keelty says Bali Nine critics preposterous". The Age. 17 February 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  15. ^ Neighbour, Sally (27 August 2010). "How the AFP trapped the Bali Nine". The Australian. Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  16. ^ McKew, Maxine (18 April 2005). "9 Australians caught in Bali drug bust" (transcript). 7.30 Report. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Munro, Ian; Shiel, Fergus (20 April 2005). "Sydney or bust?". The Age. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  18. ^ "AFP knew of drug plan for 10 weeks". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 18 April 2005. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  19. ^ Hoare, Daniel (July 2007). "Australian Exceptionalism: The Bali Nine and the future of the death penalty". The Monthly (Black Inc.). Retrieved 25 June 2011. 
  20. ^ "Bali drug accused allege AFP breach". ABC News (Australia). 7 October 2005. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Bali Nine brought together in court". The Age. AAP. 2 December 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  22. ^ "Lawyers seek charges to extradite Bali nine". ABC News (Australia). 6 December 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  23. ^ "Don't interfere: Bali 9 judges". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 7 December 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  24. ^ "Fairness of Bali Nine trial in jeopardy, say lawyers". The Age. AAP. 7 December 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  25. ^ a b "Alleged Bali Nine leader won't testify". The Age. AAP. 6 December 2005. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  26. ^ a b "Bali Nine kingpin suffers 'amnesia' in court". The Age. AAP. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  27. ^ "Call to execute Bali nine 'ringleader'". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 24 January 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  28. ^ "Bali Nine accused await sentencing fate". The Age. AAP. 24 January 2006. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  29. ^ "Bali duo sentenced to death". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 14 February 2006. 
  30. ^ "Australian death row pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran finally admit Bali Nine roles". The Australian. AAP. 13 August 2010. 
  31. ^ Marshall, Steve (14 February 2006). "Death sentence for Sukumaran and Chan" (transcript). PM (Australia). Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  32. ^ McMahon, Neil (15 February 2006). "In private, a very different reality". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  33. ^ Hamilton, Fiona (14 February 2006). "Australian drug smugglers sentenced to death in Bali". The Times. AP. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  34. ^ a b Forbes, Mark; McMahon, Neil; Dodson, Louise (15 February 2006). "Death by firing squad". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  35. ^ Thompson, Geoff (14 February 2006). "Judges sentence Chan, Sukumaran to death" (transcript). Lateline (Australia). Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  36. ^ a b c Forbes, Mark; McMahon, Neil; Nicholson, Brendan (15 February 2006). "Death for Bali ringleaders". The Age. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  37. ^ Ansley, Greg (16 February 2006). "Bali Nine executions in the wilderness". The New Zealand Herald (APN News & Media). Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  38. ^ Wockner, Cindy (8 October 2010). "Judge makes plea for lives of Bali Nine". The Herald Sun. 
  39. ^ Ansley, Greg (16 February 2006). "Canberra faces moral maze of Bali verdicts". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  40. ^ Wockner, Cindy; Athika, Gita (17 June 2011). "Bali Nine ringleader loses last appeal". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  41. ^ Allard, Tom (19 June 2011). "PM's backing to overturn death sentence". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  42. ^ Nurhayati, Desy (20 June 2011). "Bali Nine death row inmate loses final appeal". The Jakarta Post (Indonesia). Retrieved 20 June 2011. 
  43. ^ Salna, Karlis (17 August 2011). "Bali Nine pair positive in face of death". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  44. ^ "Archibald move for Bali Nine artist". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  45. ^ Wockner, Cindy; Suriadi, Komang (13 August 2010). "Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran admit to roles in Bali Nine drug ring". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 
  46. ^ "Finding a new meaning to life . . . on death row in Bali". The Advertiser (Australia). 26 March 2010. Retrieved 17 June 2011. 

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