By Rob Taylor and Olivia Rondonuwu, in Denpasar -
March 06, 2006
INDONESIAN lawyers for some of the Bali Nine are reconsidering whether to appeal against life sentences after Indonesia's highest court upheld the death penalty imposed on appeal in a separate case.
Robert Khuana, the lawyer for Brisbane youth and convicted heroin mule Scott Rush, is scheduled to make an announcement about the matter tonight.
The possible 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 Emmanuel O. Ihejerika, from Sierra Leone.
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 today in a letter to Ihejerika's lawyer Dody Firdaus.
Seven members of the Bali Nine have notified the High Court they intend to appeal, while condemned ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will also challenge their sentences.
Rush's lawyer Khuana said after consultation with Rush's parents Lee and Christine, he would announce the decision later today.
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, said.
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