News World Chan, Sukumaran judges sought $130k: lawyer

Chan, Sukumaran judges sought $130k: lawyer

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Allegations judges acted corruptly in Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan’s are grounds for Australia to offer the criminal pair diplomatic protections, law academics have said.

The drug smuggling ring leaders are to be executed in the next few days on the Indonesian island of Nusa Kambangan, south of Java.

Don Rothwell, international law professor at Australian National University, supported calls for a review of the pair’s case after the airing of allegations that judges attempted to elicit a large bribe in exchange for a lesser sentences.

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“The fact is that Australia is now in the position where I think it can clearly exercise what’s called diplomatic protection, and Mr Chan and Sukumaran’s lawyers in connection with the Australian Government I believe are actively exploring those options,” he said.

He said the reports that judges sought bribes was evidence of a violation of article seven of the international covenant, among other aspects of the case including the drawn out period of time between sentencing and penalty.

Diplomatic protection is where the “Australian Government stands in front of its citizens” saying if Indonesia break the rules, then the two countries will fight the case rather than the state against the individuals.

“This is a matter of great significance from an international legal perspective,” he told Radio National’s Breakfast program.

A lawyer for the pair, who have unsuccessfully fought to have their death sentences reduced to prison terms, said judges reneged on a $130,000 deal to give them fewer than 20 years in jail.

The judges cited political pressure as their reasons they sentenced the pair to death about two weeks later on February 14, 2006, their lawyer Muhammad Rifan told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“It was more than one billion rupiah (about $133,000 at the time) to get a verdict lower than 20 years – 15 or 16 or 17 years like that. So then we had a deal on that,” Mr Rifan was reported to have said.

He said what followed was a fatal miscalculation, that he believed the judges were “only joking” when they returned to ask for “a lot more money”.

“I just explained to them how much we had and they said the risk was now too big for them and that the [one billion rupiah] was not enough,” he said.

“I thought they were only joking. I thought they would return back to the 20 years if I didn’t come up with more money.”

But the death sentences were handed down two weeks later.

Two judges who served on the panel in the case have denied the allegations.

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