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Australia's Bali Nine ringleaders will die tomorrow despite corruption claims

The pair’s sentencing judge allegedly asked for huge bribes in return for lighter penalties.

Condemned drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in 2006
Condemned drug smugglers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in 2006
Image: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati

THE RINGLEADERS OF the Bali Nine drug smuggling gang are due to face a firing squad tomorrow despite claims their sentencing judge courted bribes in return for lighter sentences.

The explosive allegations came from the former Indonesian lawyer for condemned pair Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, who are due to be executed shortly.

The pair are expected say their final farewells on Tuesday afternoon after being given 72-hour execution notices on Saturday. They will reportedly be shot at midnight, local time.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott made another plea for clemency to Indonesian President Joko Widodo over the weekend.

Malaysia ASEAN Summit Indonesian president Joko Widodo (left) and his Philippino counterpart today Source: AP Photo/Joshua Paul

Allegations were recently aired that the judge who sentenced the two men to death asked for bribes worth over AU$130,000 (€93,700) to give them lighter punishments.

Australia’s Fairfax Media reported the pair’s former lawyer, Muhammad Rifan, claimed the deal only fell through when the judged upped his demand in the face of pressure from legal and government sources.

“We met many times with the judges,” Rifan told Fairfax.

We were talking about how long the penalty would be. Even though this is prohibited between lawyers and a judge, this is the reality. It’s normal.”

Indonesia Australia Drug Muhammad Rifan Source: AP Photo/Firdia Lisnawati

Questions remain

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the men should not be executed while legal questions remained, including a still-pending appeal to Indonesia’s constitutional court.

Both of these processes raise questions about the integrity of the sentencing and the clemency process,” she said.

Indonesia’s judicial commission has said it will investigate the corruption claims – but that would have no bearing on the death penalties being carried out.

Meanwhile, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon yesterday appealed for Widodo to consider introducing a moratorium on executions before putting eight foreign drug convicts – from the Philippines, Brazil and Nigeria, as well as Australia – to the firing squad this week.

Philippines Indonesia Executions Protesters outside the Indonesian embassy in Manila, the Philippines Source: AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

But Indonesia signalled the executions would go ahead as preparations were “100%” complete, according to the country’s attorney-general.

Filipino world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao also begged for clemency for his compatriot, Mary Jane Veloso, who is among the group waiting on death row.

- With AFP

READ: Prosecutors use photo of Boston bomber giving the finger to push for death penalty >

READ: Two of Australia’s Bali Nine drug smugglers just lost their death-row appeals >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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