Bali Nine’s Stephens’ appeal to be heard

BALI Nine drug mule Martin Stephens’ final appeal against his life sentence is expected to go before an Indonesian court today.

Stephens was arrested at Bali airport on April 17, 2005 with 2.9kg of heroin strapped to his legs and stomach.

He was sentenced to life in prison in 2006, a sentence later upheld by a higher court and Indonesia’s Supreme Court.  But lawyers for the 33-year-old Wollongong man last month lodged a request for a final appeal – known as a judicial review – which will go before the Denpasar District Court this morning.  The appeal cites new evidence in the form of a letter from former Australian Federal police Commissioner Mick Keelty, in which he described Stephens’ role in the failed heroin smuggling plot to be “minor”.

The hearing had been scheduled to take place two weeks ago but was delayed because of a clerical error.  If Stephens’ judicial review fails his final avenue will be a plea for clemency from Indonesia’s president. Four other Bali Nine members – Si Yi Chen, Michael Czugaj, Thanh Nguyen and Matthew Norman – are also serving life sentences.

Three others – Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran – are on death row. They are also expected to lodge their final appeals this year.

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