Mum sent $2000 at times to fund habit Requests from son sent her bankrupt
THE Sunshine Coast mother of a Bali Nine prisoner says she went bankrupt after funding her son’s use of drugs in Kerobokan jail.
As the group’s ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran’s death sentence appeal is due to resume in Bali today, Vicki Czugaj has revealed her son Michael developed a heroin addiction after he was arrested and imprisoned in the Indonesian jail in 2005
Throughout his short-lived addiction – he no longer uses drugs – Mrs Czugaj said Michael’s life was threatened by prison guards unless she paid for his habit, the Maroochy Journal said.
“I know he’s been held down with a noose around his neck,” Vicki said.
“If you could see what goes on over there.”
Mrs Czugaj, who recently moved from Beerwah to Marcoola, had to call on her strength and go beyond the everyday realms of motherhood to keep her son alive.
She recalled how Michael would phone from the prison asking for anything up to $2000.
“I knew I was paying for his habit,” she said.
“It’s very easy to get these drugs.”
Mrs Czugaj said there had been a system where the prisoners could book up their purchases and pay later.
“How would you feel? ”It was his way to survive at that stage.
“He is out of the drug-taking now.”
Michael, now 25, was one of nine Australians found guilty of attempting to traffic 8kg of heroin, with an estimated street value of $4 million, from Indonesia into their home country.
Then 19, Michael was apprehended along with Renae Lawrence, Scott Rush and Martin Stephens at the Bali airport with heroin strapped to their bodies.
Also apprehended were alleged ringleaders Andrew Chan, 26 and Myuran Sukumaran, 29, who have made headlines recently in relation to their final appeal. The pair hope to escape the death sentence with 20 years of imprisonment.
During an interview with the Maroochy Journal, Mrs Czugaj received a phone call from Michael who was requesting money.
“You have to pay for everything,” she said. “They get a little bowl of rice … the Australian Government gives them $125 a month as an allowance for food. They can’t live on that. We’ve got to supplement that.”
“He has to send a guard out to get his money, the guard takes a cut,” Vicki said.
“He sends people out for food and he gets maybe half. You can almost guarantee that when I’m over there they’ll threaten Michael with solitary. I’ll have to pay so he doesn’t go in there. It’s so, so corrupt.
“I’m resigned to the fact that this is my life.”