AFP must admit to its ‘big mistake’ leading to Bali Nine executions,barrister says

Facing death: Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Facing death: Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Photo: AP

The Australian Federal Police must take the blame for the two Bali Nine ringleaders being on death row and do everything to save them, a lawyer close to the case says.

Bob Myers, a barrister and family friend of Bali Nine drug courier Scott Rush, tipped off the AFP in 2005 about the attempted heroin run from Bali to Australia. He said he now feels “betrayed”.

The AFP assured him they would approach Rush before he left the country, he said. Instead, the AFP relayed the names, dates of birth and passport numbers of the Bali Nine members to Indonesian authorities, triggering their arrests.

'Betrayed': The Bali Nine.

Now, Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, face death by firing squad this month.

“I am really urging … the AFP to stand up and say, ‘Look, this was our fault, we had no authority to do it’,” Mr Myers said on ABC’s Radio National.

“They should be coming out now and saying, ‘We’ve made an enormous mistake’.”

He said the AFP was well aware of the Bali drug conspiracy and could have arrested the drug mules upon their return to Australia.

“They were both misleading and deceptive. They acted as though this was something Indonesia had done all on its own accord, they were terribly concerned about it and going to do everything they could to ensure none of the nine ever faced the death penalty,” he said.

“And it was just all lies, lies and deception.”

Mr Myers said a guideline was in place at the time of the drug plot that stopped authorities from co-operating with requests from other countries in cases that could expose an Australian to the death penalty.

“But here, there wasn’t cooperation at the request of the Indonesian authorities. This was voluntary giving of information to Indonesia,” he said.

“That’s the loophole. It was so close to illegal activity.”

The guideline has since been changed.

Mr Myers said it was time for the AFP to break its decade of silence, publicly admit to its mistakes, and do its utmost to save the lives of Chan and Sukumaran – both widely reported to be reformed and rehabilitated at┬áKerobokan prison.

“It sickens me to think that the very organisation charged with our protection, the AFP … we should be able to go to them and say, ‘I’m in strife here, can you give me a hand?’ That’s their job, that’s what they’re there for,” he said.

“And to think they can betray nine young Australians in the way they did is really just outrageous.”

An AFP spokesman said the agency changed its guidelines for dealing with such cases in January 2009.

It must now consider relevant factors before sharing intelligence that is likely to see an Australian prosecuted for offences that carry the death penalty.

“Ministerial approval is required in any case in which a person has been arrested or detained for, charged with, or convicted of an offence which carries the death penalty,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The new guidelines also mean the AFP must report to the minister annually on the nature and number of cases in which police assistance is provided in potential death penalty cases

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Henry Sapiecha

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