News World AFP to break silence on Bali Nine role

AFP to break silence on Bali Nine role

AFP chief Andrew Colvin, Bali Nine.
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The Australian Federal Police will break their silence over their role in the Bali Nine’s arrest in Indonesia.

AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin and Deputy Commissioners Mike Phelan and Leanne Close will face the media in Canberra on Monday to discuss the organisation’s work on the investigation, which led to the execution of drug smuggling ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran last week.

Pressure has been mounting on the AFP to explain its role in tipping off Indonesia about the Bali Nine drug smuggling operation in 2005.

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Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Mr Colvin will also discuss the AFP’s guidelines in relation to matters subject to the death penalty as they stood in 2005 and now.

The Federal Government has insisted police are still taking the death penalty into account before tipping off foreign agencies about suspected Australian criminals, in line with guidelines Labor issued in 2009.

Meanwhile, the AFP will face a Senate hearing for the role it played in the arrests of the Bali Nine, amid fresh calls for answers about the events that ultimately led to the executions.

Despite a number of reviews and a Federal Court ruling in favour of the AFP, the Senate will again investigate the Bali Nine case after Independent Senator Nick Xenophon said he would raise the issue in hearings set for May.

In March, Mr Colvin said he understood the Australian public’s right to better understand the AFP’s work and its role back in 2005 during the Bali Nine investigation.

Mr Colvin argued that, behind the scenes, the AFP had supported the Australian government’s lobbying for mercy and it was not the time to release further information.

“So, at the right time, I will discuss this in a lot more detail and I take the questions that the public obviously wish to ask,” he said.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said last Wednesday the immediate priority was to support the families of those involved.

She said that the involvement of the AFP was reviewed several years ago and changes were made.

The AFP has always argued that a Federal Court judgement by Justice Paul Finn in 2006 gave a strong endorsement of its actions.

It’s true that the judgement said the police actions were a “valid exercise of official power” and that the AFP’s communications with the Indonesian police had a “proper and rational purpose in the furtherance of that police investigation”.

-with AAP

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