Police in Australia have refused to apologize for tipping off the Indonesian police to a ring of heroin smugglers, known as the "Bali Nine." The information led to the execution of two Australian nationals last week.
"We can't apologize for the role we have in stopping drugs," Australian Federal Police (AFP) chief Andrew Colvin told journalists in the capital, Canberra.
The subsequent crackdown on smuggling led to the two Australian nationals, Andrew Chang and Myuran Sukumaran beingexecuted along with six others by Jakarta last week.
Meanwhile, Scott Rush, the father of one of the nine Australians who was part of the smuggling ring, told ABC news channel that he had informed police about his son's intention of bringing back drugs, in the hope that police would arrest and save him from a potential death penalty in Indonesia. Instead, AFP officials tipped off their Indonesian counterparts, who caught the dealers at Denpasar airport in Bali in 2005.
AFP commissioner Colvin denied Rush's claims, arguing that his officers did not have enough information to arrest the smugglers before they left the country.
"At the time we were working with a very incomplete picture," Colvin said.
"We didn't know everybody involved, we didn't know all the plans or even what the illicit commodity was likely to be… At this time, AFP consulted and engaged our Indonesian partners and asked for their assistance." he added.
Colvin's deputy, Mike Phelan, said his decision to inform Jakarta was made in the knowledge that the Australians could be exposed to the death penalty. "To let them come back through to Australia, we may have grabbed a couple of mules, but we would not have been able to have any evidence in relation to the wider syndicate," Phelan argued.Eight of the nine people caught in Bali in 2005 were executed in Australia last week despite international calls for clemency.
Australian police are looking into implementing new guidelines which will prevent their nationals from being vulnerable to a similar fate in future.
mg/kms (AFP, dpa)