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Rush decides not to appeal life sentence
March 6, 2006

Convicted Bali Nine drug mule Scott Rush will not appeal against a life sentence for heroin trafficking, after Indonesia's highest court upheld the death penalty imposed on appeal in a separate case.

Robert Khuana, the lawyer for the Brisbane youth, said Rush would accept his sentence and would now pin his mercy hopes on a letter to Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono asking for clemency.

The change of heart comes after Indonesia's top judicial body, the Supreme Court in Jakarta, upheld a decision by the Bali High Court to increase the punishment for Sierra Leone man Emmanuel O Ihejerika.

Ihejerika, 31, was arrested at Bali airport in 2003 after police found 396g of heroin in capsules hidden in his stomach.

He was originally sentenced to life in jail. But the High Court increased the sentence to the firing squad following an appeal lodged by Ihejerika's lawyers.

In what could be an ominous precedent for the Bali Nine, that ruling was upheld by the Supreme Court in a November decision only made public on Monday in a letter to Ihejerika's lawyer Dody Firdaus.

Khuana said while the eight others, including condemned ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, would continue appeals, Rush and his parents Lee and Christine had lost faith in the Indonesian court system.

"Since last week there was very serious consideration from the family and Scott, because they were very disappointed that the district court ignored many fact in the trial," he said.

"The family are tired of following the judicial process."

But he said Rush would wait until the appeals process for the other eight was completed - likely to take 12 months - before putting in his clemency bid.

Until then, Rush would continue work in a prison wood workshop making furniture, Khuana said.

He said Christine Rush had been convinced for some time that an appeal stood little chance under Indonesia's current anti-drug crackdown ordered by Yudhoyono.

But Rush and his father had only made their minds up on Monday.

Lawyers for the other three mules said they were still looking at the Ihejerika ruling and were unsure if it would affect appeal plans.

"Up until today we still haven't changed our minds," Haposan Sihombing, who represents Newcastle woman Renae Lawrence, told AAP.

But Adnan Wirawan, the lawyer for Wollongong man Martin Stephens, said he would continue with his appeal.

"It couldn't be heavier than life," he said.

  • Bali 9 Case Information

  • Rush rules out Bali sentence appeal
    Lawyers for convicted Bali nine drug mule Scott Rush will not appeal against his life sentence for heroin trafficking handed down last month.

    Lawyer Robert Khuana says Rush and his parents have lost faith in the Indonesian court system.

    They will instead concentrate their efforts on a plea for clemency to Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

    Their decision follows confirmation that a Sierra Leone man who was originally sentenced to life imprisonment will now face the firing squad after the sentence was increased on appeal.

    That man was convicted for trying to smuggle 396 grams of heroin in capsules in his stomach.

    Mr Khuana says Rush will wait for the outcome of any appeals by the other eight Australians before writing to the President and that will probably take 12 months.

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