Bali Nine's Renae Lawrence Begs PM To Help Other Drug Smugglers On Life Sentences
In her first public appearance since being released from prison, 'Bali Nine' member Renae Lawrence has begged Prime Minister Scott Morrison to help the other members of the drug-smuggling group.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Lawrence pleaded for the remaining five Bali Nine prisoners to have their sentences reduced. Her public address was timed to coincide with an official visit to Australia by Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who arrived the same day.
Lawrence has not spoken in public since she was released from Kerobokan prison in 2018 after she was convicted for attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin from Indonesia to Australia.
The heroin had a value of over $4 million at the time.
Lawrence was sentenced to 20 years for her role in the Bali Nine smuggling operation, but was released after receiving a good behaviour reductions of seven years.
The so-called 'ring leaders' of the group Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were sentenced to death and executed in 2015.
Five members -- Matthew Norman, Michael Czugaj, Scott Rush, Martin Stephens and Si Yi Chen -- are still serving life sentences in prison.
Another member of the group, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen died of stomach cancer in 2018 while in prison, Indonesian authorities reported.
Lawrence flagged concerns over the men's declining mental health and said "everybody deserves a second chance".
"When we were arrested in 2005...[they] were all young men. Matthew Norman was the youngest, at 18 years of age. Scott Rush and Michael Czugaj were just 19," she said.
"These five young men, who had they received the same sentence as me, might as well as been back in Australia by now. Yet, their anguish remains."
Lawrence said she had no quarrels with the Indonesian legal system but continues to worry about the men who she called "friends".
"As each year goes by, these young men are losing hope," she said.
If the sentences of the other members could not be reduced, Lawrence asked that a prisoner exchange with Australia be considered.
"These humane actions will in some small part bring our nations closer together," she said.
"We acknowledge that we did the wrong thing and we continue to apologise to the Indonesian government and its people and the Australian government and its people for our stupidity."