Bali Nine inmate 'suicidal'
* By Olivia Rondonuwo in Denpasar

Professor James Ogloff
ONE member of the Bali Nine heroin smuggling ring has considered suicide and two others are severely depressed, a psychologist said today.

James Ogloff, a psychology professor from Victoria's Monash University, made the revelation after giving evidence at Bali's Denpasar District Court today.

He was in court as an expert witness for three of the nine Australians Matthew James Norman, 20, Si Yi Chen, 22, and Thanh Duc Tan Nguyen, 24.

The three are fighting for a judicial review of their cases in a last-ditch legal bid to escape the firing squad.

Prof Ogloff said he visited the trio in Kerobokan jail yesterday, on an Australian-government funded trip aimed at aiding their case.

"Without going into detail I can say (suicide) did come up," he said outside the court, after giving evidence.

"And in fact at least one was very open about having those thoughts early on ... if he were in an Australian prison, he would be medicated at the present time.

"And two of them, at least, are very fragile at the moment."

He said the three now admitted being in possession of heroin when authorities arrested them at Bali's Melasti Hotel in April 2005.

"... they admitted being in possession of some of the drugs, there's no question about that, and they admitted that they were being asked to transport it," Prof Ogloff said.

He also revealed the three had developed serious misgivings about going ahead with the smuggling attempt before they were caught, as some aspects of the operation had not gone to plan.

Prof Ogloff said the trio still believed they would be saved, and they continued to make plans for the future.

"Of course they are continually being given positive messages by the lawyers," he said, saying they continued to make plans to take courses via correspondence.

"They certainly haven't resigned themselves to the fact that they maybe executed ..."

Prof Ogloff said none of the three had complained about conditions inside Kerobokan, once described by convicted Australian marijuana smuggler Schapelle Corby as a "dark hell hole".

"I was quite touched by the fact that none of them complained about their conditions," he said.

"They were concerned primarily about their family and lack of ability to give their apologies for what they've done."

Earlier, Prof Ogloff told the court the crimes committed by the three men did not deserve the death penalty.

" ... the death penalty is not used any longer by most countries and certainly developed countries for anything but the most serious crimes, and these crimes do not fit into that category," he said.

The three were guilty of being easily led, immature and unsophisticated, he said.

Lawyer Erwin Siregar, who represents the three, said he was optimistic their death penalties would be overturned.

Norman, Chen and Nguyen were originally sentenced to life jail terms after being found with heroin at the Melasti Hotel.

Their life terms were reduced on appeal to 20 years before finally being upgraded to death by the Supreme Court in September.

Three other members of the Bali Nine drug mule Scott Rush and ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, are arguing in Indonesia's Constitutional Court that the death penalty was unconstitutional in drugs cases.

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  • Bali nine denied chance to plead
    Mark Forbes - June 6, 2007

    Matthew Norman Three members of the Bali nine have been denied the chance to plead personally for their lives during the final day of evidence in their appeal against their death sentences.

    Prosecutors objected to Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen appearing at the hearing at Denpasar District Court, claiming security concerns.

    A lawyer for the trio, Erwin Siregar, said he would request they appear during his summing up to make a statement to the court, but was pessimistic it would be allowed.

    In yesterday's hearing, a law professor, Andy Hamzah, said Indonesia's Supreme Court had erred in upgrading the sentences of the three from 20 years to death without the introduction of new evidence or proof of errors in the previous sentences.

    Professor Hamzah said prosecutors should also have appealed against the death sentences, as the Supreme Court had imposed a higher penalty than the life sentences they had sought.

    He claimed the three, who were caught at the Melasti Hotel with 376 grams of heroin shortly after other members of the Bali nine in April 2005, should not have been charged with drug smuggling.

    As they were caught with a small quantity away from Bali's airport they should have been charged with possession, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years, Professor Hamzah said.

    He also criticised the disparity in sentencing between members of the Bali nine, with six sentenced to death, two to life and one to 20 years.

    "There should be consistency, there is definitely an error with contradictory results," he said.

    In a statement offering some hope for the six members of the Bali nine on death row, Professor Hamzah stated that if prisoners managed to avoid execution for more than 10 years in Indonesia, their sentences could be commuted to life if they had been well behaved.

    Mr Siregar will sum up his attempts to save his three clients from firing squads in a fortnight's time, before the appeal winds up with a response from prosecutors.

    A constitutional challenge to the death penalty launched by the three other Bali nine members on death row continues in Jakarta next week.

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  • Bali nine trio just naive: psychologist
    Mark Forbes, Denpasar - May 30, 2007

    THREE Bali nine members on death row perjured themselves by claiming they were unaware they would courier heroin to Australia, but were easily led and ignored the consequences of being caught, according to a leading forensic psychologist.

    James Ogloff, director of Monash University's Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science, yesterday gave evidence at the appeal of Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen.

    The men were not a danger to society and it would be inhumane, futile and ineffective to execute them, Professor Ogloff told the Supreme Court appeal.

    His appearance was funded by Canberra after an plea to Prime Minister John Howard.

    After the hearing, he described how the trio broke down inside Kerobokan prison on Monday. Discussing informing their families of their death sentences they began to cry.

    The reality of facing firing squads had yet to fully sink in, he said. "They certainly haven't resigned themselves they may be executed and when that topic was discussed that's when we saw tears from at least two of them.

    "They do share a number of characteristics; not having a serious criminal background, a couple of them were very easily led, one in particular is very immature and unsophisticated."

    Professor Ogloff described 20-year-old Norman as "very simple". Chen was smarter but "easily fooled by the others".

    "For these men in their situation the allure of money, a free trip seemed pretty good and the consequences weren't given attention," he said.

    Professor Ogloff said he was "taken aback" by the trio's open admissions of their knowledge of the smuggling plot.

    At their initial trials they denied any knowledge of a plan to import heroin into Australia, claiming they had just accepted a free holiday to Bali. In retrospect, they were given poor legal advice, Professor Ogloff said.

    "I wouldn't have any reluctance to have them living in the community in Australia, and I couldn't say that about a lot of people that I would see in Australian prisons," he said.

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  • 'Why I don't deserve to die'
    Mark Forbes, Indonesia - May 20, 2007

    Rush: "Drugs are a destroyer." Photo: Reuters

    FROM behind the whitewashed walls of Kerobokan Prison's isolation tower, Scott Rush has made a desperate plea to be spared the firing squad.

    In an interview with The Sunday Age, Rush, 21, admits he became addicted to drugs before accepting a trip to Bali to bring heroin into Australia. He now wants the chance to help the fight against drugs.

    The death sentences imposed on six members of the Bali nine were "inhumane", he said.

    "We can be rehabilitated back into society, and we can be useful members of society again because of what we've been through," he said. "My biggest mistake was turning to drugs as a form of strength, because that's what I was lacking. The fact is drugs are a destroyer … I got involved in drugs when I was younger because I wasn't strong enough."

    Rush's parents, Lee and Christine, have become anti-death penalty advocates, garnering public support while lawyers battle in Indonesia's courts for the lives of six young Australians.

    They had been treated like "lambs to the slaughter" by the Australian Government, Mrs Rush said. "These kids aren't violent, they aren't directly responsible for any deaths, they aren't terrorists, they aren't the worst of the worst," she said.

    Efforts to overturn the death sentences have reached a critical stage this month. Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have launched a landmark constitutional challenge to the death penalty, claiming it violates international treaties Indonesia has signed.

    Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, have begun a final appeal to Indonesia's Supreme Court.

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  • UI professor to attend judicial review session on Bali 9 case

    Professor James Ogloff
    Denpasar (ANTARA News) - A criminal law expert at University of Indonesia (UI), Prof Dr Ali Hamzah, is to attend a trial session on a judicial review for death penalty imposed on three members of the Bali 9 group following the court`s hearing with an Australian expert witness, a lawyer has said.

    "Pak (Mr) Ali told me that he is ready to attend the judicial review session as an expert witness next Wednesday (June 6) at the Denpasar district court," Erwin Siregar, a lawyer for the three members of the Bali 9 group, said here Sunday.

    He said the expert witness from Jakarta (Ali Hamzah) was expected to talk about problems against criminal law related to the death sentence imposed on the three persons from Australia.

    At the previous session, Prof Dr James PR Ogloff of Australia`s Monash University said that death sentence should be abolished as it was against human right values and gave no change to the criminal problems.

    As told by Prof Ogloff, Erwin said, a number of countries in the world still apply the capital punishment as they considered it could make people afraid of being involved in criminal acts.

    "However, the fact is that the death penalty fails to make felons afraid of committing criminal acts," Erwin quoted Ogloff as saying.

    A research on tens of countries in Europe and America in 2003 showed that the death penalty had made no change in the criminal problems in the world.

    "Although, the death sentence has been imposed, culprits remain to commit criminal acts," he said.

    Given the fact, many countries in the world then abolished the death sentence for any criminal act, he said, adding that it is only 12 percent of the countries in the world which still apply the death sentence including Indonesia.

    Erwin said Prof Dr Ali Hamzah was also expected to talk about the death sentence which he considered no longer relevant to the current era.

    On the statement of prosecutor Olopan Nainggolan saying that the expert witness` remark was not relevant to the materials at the trial session, Erwin said that it was the judges who would decide the matter.

    Three out of the nine Australian nationals, who were sentenced to death for involvement in the drug case, demanded a judicial review after the appellate court imposed the death penalty on them.

    The three persons belonging to a group dubbed the Bali 9 are Tach Duc Tanh Nguyen (27), Si Yi Chen (20) and Matthew Jamse Norman (18.

    At the trial session of first instance in the Denpasar district court about one year ago, each of the three members of the Bali 9 was sentenced to life. At the appellate court, each of them was commuted to a 20-year imprisonment.

    The defendants then appealed to a higher court where they were even sentenced to death.

    Three members of the Bali 9 who got death penalty for trying to smuggle 10.9 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia are still incarcerated at the Kerobokan jail in Denpasar.(*)

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