How Myuran bargained for his life

Written By komlim puldel on Senin, 09 Maret 2015 | 20.01

Myuran Sukumaran was willing to dob in the real Bali Nine boss in exchange for 'co-operation'. Source: Channel 7

The Bali Nine pair on death row will see their families for the first time in almost a week.

AS Australian authorities, the families and supporters of condemned Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran try desperately to negotiate to save the pair from looming execution, it has emerged one of the ringleaders tried to strike a deal of his own.

Chan and Sukumaran were part of a drug syndicate instructing a team of Australian drug mules importing heroin into Australia. Dubbed the ringleaders of the operation, the pair was working for someone else — a king pin who is still at large.

Chan and Sukumaran never revealed the identity of the 'Mr Big' character who is believed to have escaped police detection by avoiding a "hands on" role in the drug syndicate.

Australian death row prisoner Myuran Sukumaran is escorted for trial in 2006. Source: AFP

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran await their execution date. Source: AFP

While Chan maintains he doesn't know the identity of the drug scheme's boss, saying he answered to "a number of people", Sukumaran has revealed he considered identifying the major player in exchange for protection from police.

In an interview with Seven's Sunday Night, the drug smuggler-turned-artist and prison mentor revealed he had tried to made a deal with police.

He said he tried to bargain for his life, but was advised not to go through with spilling the beans on Mr Big.

"We tried with the police to get some sort of co-operation thing but there weren't really, like that was our only card that we had to play," he said.

"They wouldn't, and then the lawyers advised us not to go that way."

Sukumaran has conceded the pair was instructed by "a bunch of people, in Sydney", but repeated he feared for his family if he dobbed in the real ringleaders.

Bali Nine ringleader Myuran Sukumaran pictured on the tarmac at Cilacap airport — on his way to Nusakambangan Island. Source: Supplied

Barrister Sam Di Carlo, who represented members of the Bali drugs syndicate, said evidence showed Sukumaran and Chan were low-level smugglers in a wider operation and "it's quite clear [the police] never got the ring leaders."

"My view is that certainly they didn't get anywhere near the top of the ladder," Mr Di Carlo told news.com.au last month, when reports surfaced that the real boss of the Bali Nine operation may have been living free and in luxury in Sydney, having won millions on the lottery.

THE DEAL AUSTRALIA TRIED TO STRIKE

Sukumaran's deal clearly never eventuated, joining a similar doomed trade-off floated by the Australian government in a bid to save the pair.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop last week proposed, in what was reportedly "a very tense phone call" to her Indonesian counterpart, to explore the transfer of Indonesian prisoners detained in Australia in exchange for Chan and Sukumaran.

The deal was to reportedly involve three Indonesians in prison in Australia over their role in an infamous 1998 drug bust.

They were named as Kristito Mandagi, Saud Siregar and Ismunandar, the captain, chief officer and engineer respectively of a boat carrying 390 kilograms of heroin that was seized near Port Macquarie, some 400 kilometres north of Sydney.

Police patrol the island of Nusakambangan where Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran await their executions. Pic: Adam Taylor Source: News Corp Australia

At the time the haul, concealed in designers sports bags, was Australia's largest drug bust.

Valued at $600 million, it was 47 times bigger than the amount of heroin seized in the Bali Nine bust.

The men were caught in an operation involving federal and state police as well as Customs officers and naval assistance, Fairfax reports, and each pleaded not guilty.

Mandagi was sentenced to life with a non-parole period of 25 years while the other two men received 20-year sentences.

Indonesia on Thursday rejected the offer of the prisoner swap, saying it was determined to put to death those "who have poisoned our nation".

FINAL APPEAL

With the government's 11-hour negotiation failing, the pair continues to wait for an execution date to be set.

The men are in limbo on the central Java island of Nusakambangan after arriving last Wednesday in expectation of their imminent executions.

Now, Jakarta has indicated it wishes to wait for the result of legal appeals of some of the 10 drug felons ready for the firing squad, and Prime Minister Tony Abbott is meanwhile still awaiting for a "final call" with Indonesia's President over the fate of the prisoners.

Australian lawyer Julian McMahon is preparing another appeal. Source: News Corp Australia

The pair has one more chance to pursue a legal appeal against President Widodo's refusal to grant them clemency, after it was confirmed they will be given a hearing in a Jakarta court on Thursday.

Their appeals for presidential clemency, typically a death row convict's final chance of avoiding the firing squad, were rejected by Mr Widodo.

Mr Widodo, a vocal supporter of the death penalty for drug traffickers, claims Indonesia is facing an "emergency" due to rising narcotics use.

The Administrative Court last month dismissed a bid to challenge that decision, saying clemency was the president's prerogative, which it had no right to overturn.

Their lawyers had since lodged an appeal against that dismissal and were awaiting judgment.

"The next hearing on Thursday will be the response from the president's team about our challenge," one of their lawyers, Doly James, told AFP.

"The reason for the rejection of clemency was unclear, when we had been very clear why these two deserved clemency," he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is waiting on a 'final call' from Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Source: AP

In a rare shift in position, Mr Widodo conceded in an interview with Al Jazeera the Indonesian Government would be open to abolishing the death penalty if the Indonesian people wanted change.

"The constitution and existing laws still allow (the death penalty) but in the future if it is necessary to change it and the people really want it, why not?" he said.

And the former Indonesian Justice Minister, Amir Symasuddin, has accused the Indonesian Government of turning the turning the transfer of Chan and Sukumaran into a "death show".

FAMILIES ARRIVE FOR FAREWELL

The families of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are about to set off on an emotional trip to see the condemned men on the island where they are due to be executed.

Chan's brother Michael told reporters he and his mother Helen were excited to be seeing him for the first time since the pair arrived on Nusakambangan island last Wednesday.

"It's been a few days, so we're looking forward to seeing him when we get over there and giving him a hug," he said.

Chintu Sukumaran said it would be good to see his brother Myuran after waiting in Cilacap since Thursday.

"We've been told he's doing well, so we just want to see it for ourselves just to make sure," he said.

"We want to see him to let him know that we love him."

The families of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran depart from the dock at Cilicap, as they make their way to Nusakambangan Island.


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