LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Three death-row members of the Bali Nine heroin-smuggling gang have made last-ditch pleas for leniency during a surprise appearance in court on the final day of their appeals, The Australian reports.
Would-be drug couriers Si Yi Chen, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen and Matthew Norman say they are extremely sorry for breaking the law but insist they have turned their lives around during two years in jail.
The trio read to the panel of judges in Denpasar District Court from hand-written statements in voices that betrayed little emotion. The three men said that, although they accepted Indonesia’s right to punish them as it saw fit for their crimes, sparing their lives would give extra meaning to what they had learned.
The Bali Nine syndicate was caught trying to transport almost 10kg of heroin from Bali to Sydney in April, 2005. Chen, Nguyen and Norman were to follow with a second shipment after four fellow couriers made an initial run to Australia.
The three men were first sentenced to life in jail, which was then reduced to 20 years on appeal and then increased, after a prosecution appeal, to death by firing squad.
Yesterday was their first public admission of guilt, after they told judges in their original trial they had nothing to do with the plot.
Nguyen, 24, said that even if he spent the rest of his life “trying to make things right again, that won’t be nearly enough – but I do want to try”.
Chen, 22, a Chinese-Australian who migrated from his homeland in 1996, thanked the guards at Bali’s Kerobokan jail “for caring about me and help me to be a better person”.