Kerobokan Prison boss to testify for Australians from Bali Nine group currently on death row

The head of Bali's Kerobokan Prison will testify in defence of Bali Nine death row inmates Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran tomorrow.

Siswanto is expected to tell the Denpasar District Court that Chan and Sukumaran have embraced rehabilitation efforts and are now committed to bettering themselves and helping other inmates.

He is expected to explain to the court how the Sydney pair have begun teaching computer classes and taking part in religious and artistic activities inside the jail, also home to Schapelle Corby.

Siswanto is one of four witnesses being called to testify at the pair's final appeal, which seeks to have their death sentences reduced to 20-year jail terms.

Former Indonesian Supreme Court judge Yahya Harahap is also expected to give evidence. Two other witnesses will be called later this month.

Chan, 26, and Sukumaran, 29, were two of nine Australians convicted over a 2005 attempt to smuggle about eight kilograms of heroin out of Bali.

The appeal relies heavily on evidence the men have been successfully rehabilitated and are now role models inside prison.

It also argues previous rulings against them erred by finding them guilty of exporting drugs, even though they were caught before exportation actually occurred.

If the judicial review fails they will be forced to seek clemency from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who generally takes a dim view of drug smugglers.

Fellow Bali Nine death row inmate Scott Rush's judicial review is currently being considered by Indonesia's Supreme Court.

Five other members of the drug smuggling plot - Martin Stephens, Matthew Norman, Michael Czugaj, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Than Nguyen - are serving life sentences.

The final member of the drug ring, courier Renae Lawrence, is serving a 20-year sentence.

Another Australian man, 43-year-old Michael Sacatides, was arrested in Bali last week with an alleged 1.7kg of methamphetamine.

If he is eventually charged with drug importation he could also also be facing a possible death penalty.

(Published by The Australian - October 7, 2010)

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