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Australian accused of trafficking may get death penalty

Indonesia prosecutors have sought death penalty for an Australian accused of heroin trafficking along with eight compatriots in Bali.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2006 11:21 IST

Indonesia prosecutors on Tuesday sought death penalty for an Australian accused of heroin trafficking along with eight compatriots on the resort island of Bali.

"We ask that the panel of judges hearing the case of defendant Myuran Sukumaran declare the defendant guilty of the crime of exporting first-class narcotics in an organised way, and without permit," prosecutor David Adji told the district court in Denpasar, Bali's main town.

He demanded that the panel of judges "hand down the death sentence to the defendant."

Under Indonesian law, the court is not bound to follow the recommendation by the prosecution team if Myuran Sukumaran, 24, is found guilty.

Prosecutors said that there were no mitigating factors in favor of the defendant, and that his crime ran against the Indonesian government's tough anti-drugs drive and also tarnished the image of Indonesia and Bali.

They said that the defendant had also "not been straightforward during his questioning and in court."

Sukumaran is accused of affixing packages containing heroin on at least three of the mules from the so-called Bali Nine—Renae Lawrence, Martin Stephens and Scott Rush.

The gang of eight men and one woman, arrested after a tip-off by Australian police, are accused of attempting to smuggle a total of 11.2 kilograms (24 pounds 11 ounces) of the drug out of Bali to Australia.

Mohammad Rifan, one of Sukumaran's lawyers, asked for two weeks' time to prepare a defence comment in response but Judge Gusti Lanang Dauh gave the team until February 1.

Sukumaran was allegedly discovered at a hotel on Bali's Kuta Beach with several mobile phones and 350 grams of heroin.

He has denied any knowledge of the heroin seized at Ngurah Rai airport last April 17, as well as that found at his premises when he was arrested.

First Published: Jan 24, 2006 11:21 IST