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Australian drug convict walks free from Bali prison after one year

Cabantog was sentenced to 12 months and Van Iersel got nine months.

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Van Iersel was deported to Australia two days after being freed on April 21.

Cabantog, wearing a mask and a black T-shirt with a picture of a prisoner behind bars and words “Myuran hope,” was escorted on Saturday through a crush of reporters outside the Kerobokan prison in Denpasar, the Bali provincial capital, into a waiting car. He made no comment.

Myuran Sukumaran and another Australian, Andrew Chan, were convicted as the ringleaders of the drug smuggler group dubbed the “Bali Nine” and executed by a firing squad in 2015, causing a diplomatic furor between often testy neighbors Indonesia and Australia.

The eight men and one woman were arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.

The only woman in the group, Renae Lawrence, had been freed in 2018. Another member, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, died from cancer in the same year, while five others had their sentences increased to life on appeal.

Yulius Sahruzah, the Kerobokan prison chief of warden, said Cabantog will be placed in a detention cell at the immigration office while waiting for a flight to Australia.

William Cabantog (left) David Van Iersel (right) tried to shield their faces from the media.

William Cabantog (left) David Van Iersel (right) tried to shield their faces from the media.Credit:Amilia Rosa

He said a stay in the immigration’s holding cell usually would be no more than one day, but Cabantog may stay longer because of reduced flights in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Indonesia has very strict drug laws and convicted traffickers are often executed by a firing squad. More than 150 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes, and about a third of them are foreigners.

AP

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