News National Names of nearly 2000 drug suspects handed over

Names of nearly 2000 drug suspects handed over

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One of the lawyers for two men executed in Bali in April has called for independent monitoring of the names of criminal suspects referred to death penalty jurisdictions.

Julian McMahon, who represented Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, said an independent regulator should be established to oversee who was referred to foreign police by the Australian Federal Police.

The call came as Fairfax Media revealed the AFP shared the names of 1847 suspects with foreign agencies between 2009 and 2014.

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About 95 per cent were for drug offences, risking death in countries where execution was imposed as a penalty.

“International co-operation is an essential part of the AFP doing their job to combat serious crime, and they must be able to continue to do that,” Mr McMahon told The Age.

“But, where it’s a matter of life and death, there is a very heavy burden of responsibility on the AFP and our government to act in accordance with our national policy to oppose the death penalty, torture and so on.

“Where so many lives may be at risk because of positive steps taken by a busy police force, an independent monitor or a review mechanism is in everybody’s interest.”

An AFP spokesperson said the agency’s work with law enforcement agencies in other countries had been “very successful” in solving crime.

“The AFP cannot limit its co-operation to countries that have similar legal systems as Australia … [and] without the ability to work with all of its international partners, the AFP simply could not function,” the spokesperson said.

Following the execution of Bali nine drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the agency opposed the death penalty and carefully managed the number of reports made to foreign police.

“A dozen Australians, including two grandmothers, are on death row, including nine in China, where they are among 26 in custody in that country on drug charges,” The Age reported.

“Police have said in the past that none of the 12 on death row were there because of AFP intervention.”

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