Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Bali nine 'face death'


INDONESIAN prosecutors have given their strongest sign to date they will demand the death penalty for some of the Bali nine.The indication came yesterday as accused drug mule Michael Czugaj became a witness in his own trial.

Facing the possibility of death by firing squad, Czugaj told the Denpasar District Court he thought he would be shot if he did not carry part of a $4 million heroin stash to Australia.

But his evidence appeared not to have swayed chief prosecutor David Adji, who will make his sentence demand to judges when Czugaj's trial resumes in two weeks.

"If you are asking if the packages were strapped to his body, I can prove that in my sleep," Mr Adji said afterwards.

Several foreigners have received the ultimate sanction for carrying lesser amounts of drugs than the nine Australians.

Czugaj, 20, told the court his bosses in the failed heroin ring had told him they were ready to shoot him if he did not co-operate and agree to carry three blocks of heroin from Bali to Australia.

Alleged gang mastermind Andrew Chan took Czugaj and fellow mule Scott Rush aside in a room prior to strapping the drugs to their backs and legs, and told them he was carrying a pistol, Czugaj said.

"All I could see were white packets," he told the Denpasar District Court.

"He said he had a gun in his pocket. He said: 'If you don't do it I'll kill you and your family. I know where your family live'."

Judges and prosecutors repeatedly grilled Czugaj why he and Rush had not turned themselves in to police at Bali airport. The trial will resume on January 17.


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