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April 14, 2011

Martin Stephens,Australian Drug Convict Weds in Prison at Kerobokan,Bali





BADUNG,Bali . Indonesia (AFP) – An Australian drug smuggler serving a life sentence married his Indonesian sweetheart on Monday in prison on the holiday island of Bali, and again proclaimed his innocence.
Martin Stephens and Christine Winarni Puspayanti, both 34, said their vows in a church on the grounds of the Kerobokan Prison, attended by family and friends, including members of the so-called Bali Nine drug ring.
Dressed in traditional Javanese wedding costumes, the couple danced to romantic music before Stephens scooped his bride up in his arms and carried her to cut a three-tiered cake during the reception, to cheers and wolf-whistles.
"I feel so happy," Stephens told reporters, adding that he was planning to seek a presidential pardon.
"Of course, I'm sure it will come true," he said of his chances.
Puspayanti, a mother-of-one, said they met six years ago when she visited a friend in prison.
"I'm really happy today. God has united us... Who knows, if God wills it, he may be able to leave (prison)," she said.
Stephens was arrested in 2005 at Denpasar airport on Bali with 2.9 kilograms (6.4 pounds) of heroin strapped to his legs and stomach.
He was one of the Bali Nine gang of Australians found guilty of trying to smuggle drugs from Indonesia to their homeland.
Stephens sought a judicial review last year after higher courts in Indonesia had upheld his conviction and life sentence.
But the Supreme Court in January rejected his final appeal for a lighter sentence, saying the initial ruling remained valid.
Three other members of the Bali Nine ring lodged final appeals last year against death sentences and are awaiting the Supreme Court's verdict.
Besides Stephens, four others are serving life sentences. Renae Lawrence, the only woman in the group, received 20 years but has had her sentence reduced by almost two years for good behavior.


Bali drug mule finds wedded bliss behind bars

Tom Allard, Amilia Rosa
April 12, 2011
IN A spare room at Kerobokan Prison appointed with flowers and new furniture, well away from the crowded cells, Bali nine drug mule Martin Stephens and his wife, Christine, last night spent their first evening together as a married couple.
The rare conjugal privilege followed a small ceremony and raucous wedding reception yesterday at the penitentiary for the long-time sweethearts, who met shortly after Stephens was caught with more than three kilograms of heroin strapped to his body at Bali's airport.
Dressed in traditional Javanese wedding attire, the couple were betrothed at the prison's chapel, with their parents present, as was Renae Lawrence, another member of the Bali nine smuggling syndicate.
Captive couple: Bali nine heroin courier Martin Stephens and his bride Christine Winarni Puspayanti dance at their wedding inside Kerobokan Prison. Captive couple: Bali nine heroin courier Martin Stephens and his bride Christine Winarni Puspayanti dance at their wedding inside Kerobokan Prison. Photo: Anta Kesuma
Other members of the Bali nine turned up for the reception, where the prison band played and the newlyweds led the dancing.
According to those invited, marijuana smuggler Schapelle Corby was not there, nor were Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the organisers of the Bali nine drug ring who face the firing squad.
''It was one of the most beautiful weddings I've been to,'' said Adnan Wirawan, Stephens's lawyer. ''The ceremony was sacred, everybody was happy. Today they are celebrating, not thinking about tomorrow … just celebrating.
The guest list included guards at Bali's Kerobokan Prison. Click for more photos

Martin Stephens' Bali prison wedding

  • Guests at Martin Stephens' wedding in Kerobokan Prison.
  • The couple before the ceremony.
  • Martin Stephens and Christine Winarni Puspayanti.
  • Martin Stephens kisses his bride.
''Martin said to me, 'I am doing this for our love. That's it. Nothing else.' ''
Leaving the prison yesterday afternoon, Stephens's mother, Michelle, summed up the day as ''excellent''.
Stephens met Christine Winarni Puspayanti just months after his arrest in 2005. Christine, a convert to Christianity, went to the prison as part of a church group offering spiritual support to the convicts.
Stephens was quickly smitten. Within 12 months, the duo were talking about marriage and children.
Christine has a daughter, Laura, from a previous marriage. Legal appeals, financial constraints and logistics problems delayed the nuptials, but the two remained devoted throughout.
A visitor to Kerobokan's meeting yard would invariably see the duo kissing, limbs entwined, oblivious to their lack of privacy.
Stephens lost an appeal against his life sentence earlier this year. His last remaining options include going through an administrative process available to all convicts in Indonesia who have served five years or more of a life term. That could result in his term being reduced to 20 years. With remissions, Stephens could be free in about six years.
Stephens could also launch a direct appeal for clemency to Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

AMILIA ROSA in BALI





 Martin Stephens, 34, is serving a life sentence for his role in a 2005 attempt to smuggle 2.9 kilos of heroin from Bali to Australia.

His marriage to divorcée Christine Puspayanti, also 34 and a mother of one, who met Stephens six years ago while visiting prisoners as part of religious work, was held at a church on the prison grounds, prison chief Siswanto said.
Attending the ceremony were family and friends, including members of the  Bali Nine, three of whom are on death row.
Dressed in traditional Javanese wedding costumes, the couple danced to romantic music before Stephens scooped his bride up in his arms and carried her to cut a three-tiered cake during the reception, to cheers and wolf-whistles.
“I feel so happy,” Stephens told reporters, adding that he was planning to seek a presidential pardon.
“Of course I’m sure it will come true,” he said of his chances.
His new bride said was ecstatic.
“I’m really happy today. God has united us… Who knows, if God wills it, he may be able to leave (prison),” she said.

JULIA Gillard today refused to reveal details of her planned pleas to Indonesia's president about the fate of Schapelle Corby and members of the Bali Nine. 

Julia Gillard and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono prepare to meet at Merdeka Palace in Jakarta. Picture: AP Source: AP
The Prime Minister arrived in Jakarta last night for the final leg of her first prime ministerial tour of Asia and is due to meet Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono today.
Before the meeting Ms Gillard said she would be canvassing a wide range of issues, including economics, trade, education and people-smuggling.
She would also use the talks to press the clemency pleas of convicted Australian drug traffickers Schapelle Corby, Scott Rush, Matthew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Corby is appealing for presidential clemency to reduce her 20-year sentence for marijuana smuggling, while the three members of the Bali Nine may have to use the same avenue if they fail in their appeals against the death sentence for heroin trafficking.

“I understand Australians are very interested, deeply interested, in the circumstances and fate of Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine,” Ms Gillard told reporters in Jakarta.
“Whilst I will raise these matters with the President it is not my intention to canvass widely now what I will say to the President.
“I do not believe that would be in the interests of Schapelle Corby or the Bali Nine.
“But the Australian government does support Schapelle Corby's plea for clemency.”
Corby was arrested at Bali airport in 2004 with 4.2kg of marijuana in her boogie board bag.
Her application for presidential clemency claims she is suffering from depression and a mental illness that could endanger her life unless she is released from Bali's Kerobokan Prison.
Ms Gillard also brushed aside calls to raise allegations of torture against Indonesian troops in West Papua in her meeting with the President.
“President Yudhoyono has already indicated that those matters will be the subject of an investigation and I welcome that,” Ms Gillard said.
The Prime Minister endorsed Dr Yudhoyono's assurance that soldiers responsible for torturing two Papuans in May, a video of which provoked international anger and concern, would be identified and punished.
Ms Gillard was urged to raise the issue at today's meeting by international NGO Human Rights Watch, particularly because the alleged torture is being investigated internally by the army, which has been persistently implicated in human rights abuses during campaigns to suppress separatists in Papua.
Speaking during a cabinet meeting yesterday, however, the President said there was no proper basis for intervention by Australia.
“I read in the news... Australia has been asked to pressure Indonesia to carry out an investigation. I say there's no need to pressure Indonesia,” he said.
“There should be no pressure from any country or any non-government organisation.”
Pressed today on the apparent lack of transparency in a military investigation, Ms Gillard said: “President Yudhoyono has already indicated he will have an investigation of these matters and prosecutions will follow from that investigation.”
Ms Gillard laid a wreath at Indonesia's National Heroes' Cemetery this morning before heading to the presidential palace for the talks.
The Prime Minister visited Vietnam for the East Asia Summit at the weekend before travelling to Malaysia for bilateral talks there.
Ms Gillard's proposal for a regional protection framework and processing centre for asylum-seekers has been high on her agenda.
A planned official dinner in Ms Gillard's honour has been changed to a lunch because Dr Yudhoyono has decided to visit the area near Mt Merapi, a Central Java volcano that has killed dozens of people in recent eruptions.

Source : theaustralian.com


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