Prisoners from Karangasem jail arriving at the Bangli jail today after being evacuated because of the Mount Agung volcano.Source:Supplied
Prisoners from Karangasem jail arriving at the Bangli jail today after being evacuated because of the Mount Agung volcano.Source:Supplied

Volcano threat: Aussie inmates evacuated from Bali jail

AUSTRALIAN prison inmates - including Bali Nine member Scott Rush - are among 166 prisoners evacuated yesterday from a jail in East Bali as the holiday island's Mt Agung volcano threatens to erupt.

Rush, one of the Bali Nine heroin couriers, and Sydney man Michael Sacatides, were moved out of Karangasem jail and taken to other jails amid fears the prison, near the volcano, could be affected when the mountain erupts.

Also moved was Indonesian woman Noor Ellis, convicted of the cold-blooded murder of her Australian husband Bob Ellis.

Karangasem prison, where all three are serving their sentences, is outside the 12km exclusion zone now thrown around Mt Agung but authorities say the jail move was done for safety reasons.

Prisoners, clutching possessions in plastic bags, were moved on police prison buses.

The move comes as authorities warn an eruption of Mt Agung is imminent.

The mountain is now on level four alert, the highest alert rating, and earthquakes under the volcano, are constant.

The alert level was raised to four on Friday night but volcanologists say they cannot predict exactly when Mt Agung will erupt.

Indonesia's President, Joko Widodo, travelled to Bali yesterday to meet authorities and to visit some of the shelters now set up for more than 75, 000 villagers who have fled the exclusion zone.

Between midnight last night and 12 noon yesterday, there were 317 tremors recorded from within Mt Agung.

Authorities say 75, 673 evacuees are now sheltering at 377 points across Bali as emergency relief supplies are being shipped in.

Mt Agung last erupted in 1963.

Karangasem prison governor, Kusbyantoro, said 151 male prisoners and 15 females had been moved out of the jail.
"We decided to evacuate all the prisoners for our safety. The alert level of Mount Agung has reached the highest level. Their families are worried," Kusbyantoro told News Corporation.

"We who work in the prison are also worried. So, we decided to move to a safer place. This is only temporary.

"Once the situation is conducive, we will come back again. So, it will not be permanent."

He said the jail's evacuation had not been ordered by disaster mitigation agencies but was a precaution.

"This is only our initiative to anticipate (a problem). This is better than something bad happens and we are blamed," Kusbyantoro said.

He said among those moved were three foreigners - the two Australians and a Malaysian.

The 151 male inmates had been moved to the special narcotics prison at Bangli and the 15 females were taken to Bangli women's prison.

There are concerns that while the Karangasem prison, located in the city of Amlapura, is well outside the exclusion zone, that it could still be affected by cold lava carried through the river.


Scott Rush, who was one of four Bali Nine heroin couriers arrested at Bali airport in 2005, is serving a life sentence for his crime. His death penalty was reduced on appeal.

He was held in Bali's Kerobokan prison, with the rest of the Bali Nine, until February 2014 when he requested a transfer to another jail to avoid temptations, including drugs.

Michael Sacatides, a former Sydney kickboxing instructor, is serving an 18-year sentence, after being arrested at Bali airport in 2011 with 1.7kg of methamphetamine secreted in his suitcase lining. He had arrived on a flight from Bangkok, where he was then living. He too was moved out of Kerobokan jail.

Indonesian woman Noor Ellis is serving a 12-year sentence for orchestrating the contract killing of her Australian husband Bob Ellis at their Sanur villa in October 2014.