Indonesia set to free Bali Nine drug smuggler Lawrence

Renae Lawrence was arrested in 2005 when authorities caught her with 2.6 kilograms of heroin strapped to her body as she tried to fly out of the international airport on the holiday island of Bali. (AFP)
Updated 21 November 2018
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Indonesia set to free Bali Nine drug smuggler Lawrence

  • ‘Renae Lawrence is in a healthy condition. She seems to be happy, but also a bit nervous’
  • It is likely that Lawrence will be deported shortly after her release
BANGLI, Indonesia: The first member of the “Bali Nine” heroin-trafficking gang to be released from prison is expected to leave jail on Wednesday after serving 13 years, in a case that caused a huge diplomatic rift between Indonesia and Australia.
Renae Lawrence, 41, the only female member of the group, was arrested in 2005 when authorities caught her with 2.6 kilograms of heroin strapped to her body as she tried to fly out of the international airport on the holiday island of Bali.
She was initially handed a life term, but her sentence was later reduced to 20 years and then further cut due to good behavior.
It was not immediately clear what time she would be released from Bali’s Bangli prison, but officials said she may be freed around midday (0400 GMT).
“Renae Lawrence is in a healthy condition. She seems to be happy, but also a bit nervous,” head of Bangli prison Made Suwendra said.
It is likely that Lawrence will be deported shortly after her release.
The Australian Police Commissioner for the state of New South Wales, Mick Fuller, told The Australian newspaper there were two outstanding arrest warrants for Lawrence and that they will speak to her when she returns to the country.
Reports in Australian media said Lawrence could face arrest once she is back home over a high-speed chase involving a stolen vehicle dating back to just before she was arrested in Indonesia.
Of the nine in the original group, ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan were executed by firing squad in 2015, sparking a diplomatic row between Australia and Indonesia, which has some of the world’s strictest drug laws including the death penalty.
Another member, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, died in prison in June from stomach cancer, while the remaining five are currently serving life sentences.
Some critics have lashed out at the Australian police for tipping off their Indonesian counterparts about the gang and putting its members at risk of execution in Indonesia.
High-profile cases like that of Australian Schapelle Corby, who spent more than nine years behind bars for smuggling marijuana into Bali, have stoked concern that Indonesia is becoming a destination for trafficked drugs.
Corby was deported in 2017 after several years of parole.


Counter-protesters drown out white supremacist rally in Ohio

Updated 26 May 2019
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Counter-protesters drown out white supremacist rally in Ohio

  • Nine people from a group called the Honorable Sacred Knights showed up for a rally
  • They were met by 500 to 600 counter-protesters and over 350 anti-riot police

WASHINGTON: Less than a dozen people affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group were drowned out by hundreds of counter-protesters Saturday at a rally in the midwestern US state of Ohio, authorities and local media said.
The event ended peacefully without injuries or arrests, the city government of Dayton, Ohio, said in a statement on Facebook.
Nine people from a group called the Honorable Sacred Knights showed up for a rally they’d obtained a permit to hold in Dayton’s Courthouse Square. They were met by 500 to 600 counter-protesters, city officials said.
The counter-protesters chanted, sang and played various instruments to drown out the racist demonstrators, who had gathered behind a tall metal fence under tight police security, local media reports said.
More than 350 law enforcement officers were on hand amid fears of violence.
In 2017, a woman was killed at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
President Donald Trump sparked outrage in its aftermath after claiming there were good people “on both sides” at the rally.