Bali 9 smuggler dies serving life sentence

Indonesian police escort Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen from Denpasar District Courthouse after his sentencing trial on Feb. 15, 2006. Photo: AFP

Convicted drug smuggler from the infamous Bali Nine, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, has died, reportedly of stomach cancer, while serving out a life sentence in Indonesian prison.

The 34-year-old had served 13 years of his life sentence before succumbing to stomach cancer, according to an Indonesian justice ministry official. He died last month at a Jakarta prison, but his death was just announced this week.

“Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen died of stomach cancer in Jakarta on May 19,” AFP quoted justice ministry spokesman Ade Kusmanto as saying.

Nguyen has experienced considerably less press attention for his role in the 2005 heroin operation than the other eight members of the Australian smuggling plot that became known as the Bali Nine.

He did, however, make headlines in 2015 when he married an Italian ambulance volunteer from prison.

Like Bali Nine ringleaders Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan who Indonesia executed in April 2015 for the heroin trafficking plot, Nguyen had previously been handed down the death penalty. However, he dodged the firing squad, having his sentence commuted to life imprisonment in 2008.

The remaining six members of the Bali Nine remain in prison, serving their sentences.

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