Senator to grill AFP over Bali Nine involvement

Australian Federal Police will front a parliamentary committee in coming weeks to explain their role in the arrest of the Bali Nine a decade ago.

Wednesday’s execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have renewed calls for AFP involvement to be investigated, despite a Federal Court ruling in 2006 finding the AFP acted appropriately by sharing information about the drug smugglers with Indonesian authorities.

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In 2005, the AFP provided details to Indonesian authorities about the heroin smuggling plot before members of the Bali Nine departed Australia, and advised Indonesia to “take what action they deem appropriate”.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she was satisfied with the reviews into AFP involvement, but Senator Nick Xenophon said more questions needed to be asked.


The Bali Nine after their arrest in 2005. Photo: AAP

Senator Xenophon said he intended to question AFP officials at an upcoming Senate estimates hearing in May.

The AFP said now the legal process had been completed it would answer questions from journalists.

The press conference has been delayed out of respect for the Chan and Sukumaran families.

Brisbane-based lawyer Bob Myers, a friend of the father of Bali Nine member Scott Rush, said the AFP must bear responsibility.

He said he reached out to the AFP in a bid to stop Mr Rush leaving Australia for Bali as part of the drug smuggling operation, but said his pleas fell on deaf ears.

“This is a black day for the AFP, a day they deliberately exposed nine Australians to the death penalty,” Mr Myers said on Wednesday.

Last month, AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said the force would not be responsible for the deaths of Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran if they were executed.

Bali Nine Andrew Chan Myuran Sukumaran

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed this week.

“Put simply, do we have blood on our hands? No,” Mr Colvin said.

The comments from AFP officials and Ms Bishop are at odds with former foreign minister Bob Carr, who on ABC’s 7.30 program last month said the AFP needed to clarify its involvement.

“Having spoken to some of the families of the Bali Nine over the years, I think [the AFP] probably need a more robust defence of their position,” Mr Carr said.

“Otherwise it looks like they allowed this ill-fated expedition to go ahead without considering the consequences with arrests being made on Indonesian soil, subject to the death penalty.”

AFP Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said he agreed with Mr Carr’s point that the AFP needed to say more, but denied the force would be responsible for the men’s deaths.

“The AFP does not have blood on its hands,” Mr Ashton said.

– with AAP

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