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Bali-Nine's Martin Stephens Loses Appeal

Bali Nine's Martin Stephen Life Sentence Affirmed by Supreme Court, Casting Cloud Over Outstanding Appeals by 3 Australians Appealing their Death Sentences.

(1/17/2011) The Indonesian Supreme Court has rejected the arguments offered on appeal by convicted Bali-Nine drug smuggler, Martin Eric Stephens (34), seeking a reduction to 10 years in prison in his life sentence for attempting to smuggle 9 kilograms of heroin from Bali's airport to Australia in 2005. Arguments from Stephen's attorney failed to sway the High Court claiming his client was merely a courier and, as such, warranted a long prison sentence instead of life behind bars without parole.

The latest decision underlines the consistently hard line being taken by both the Indonesian President and the Indonesian courts in dealing with drug offenders. The latest decision also forebodes badly for two other members of the Bali Nine - Andrew Chan (26) and Myuran Sukumaran (29), who are waiting to for the High Court's answer to their request to change their current death sentence to 20 years in prison. Reacting to the decision, Chan's and Sukumaran lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubus, expressed his disappointment, seeing the ruling as reflecting a standing policy to hand out heavy sentences in all drug cases.

Meanwhile, the attorney for Scott Rush (26), a fourth member of Bali-Nine, painted a more optimistic picture. Attorney Robert Khuana thinks his appeal against Rush's death sentence may still prevail, explaining that every panel of judges rules differently.

The Indonesian Supreme Court is the court of last resort for convicted criminals with only a Presidential order of clemency now standing between Stephens and the stark reality of spending the rest of his life behind bars.