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A Gift of Life for Three of the Bali Nine

Life, 20 Years, Death and Now Back to Life in Jail 3 of the 'Bali Nine' Get Their 4th Sentence Change from Indonesian Courts for Smuggling Heroin.

(3/8/2008) The Indonesian Supreme Court has commuted the death penalty for three of the infamous "Bali Nine." Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen saw the courts spare their lives with a ruling that will move them off death row in favor of life imprisonment.

Together with 9 fellow Australians, the three were arrested for trying to smuggle 8.2 kilograms of heroin into Australia via Bali's Ngurah Rai Airport.

Of the remaining 6 Australians - the one woman in the group, Renae Lawrence, received a 20-year sentence; two men Michael Czugaj and Martin Stephens were sentenced to life imprisonment; while three more still remain under a pending death penalty.

An Emotional Roller Coaster

Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen who have consistently maintained that their role in the crime were as simple couriers, were sentenced to life imprisonment at their initial trial. On appeal, this sentence was reduced to 20 years which, on the objections of Indonesian prosecutors and a further appeal was changed to the maximum penalty of death. The latest and presumably final ruling by the Supreme Court will spare the three's lives but place them behind bars for the rest of their lives.

Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and Scott Rush remain under a death sentence. None of the remaining three have commenced a formal appeal of their death penalty. While Chan and Sukumaran are characterized by authorities as the masterminds of the smuggling attempt, Scott Rush is widely viewed as a courier and a potential recipient of the leniency granted to his three fellow couriers this past week.