Anger Over Impending Bali Executions

Australians and others are treating the impending execution of two men sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug smuggling with a mixture of anger and revulsion.

Editorials and commentaries across Australia and condemning the decision by the Indonesian government for its double standards over the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo has not ruled out abolishing capital punishment in the future but he has defended his decision to reject clemency for foreigners on death row for drug smuggling and little hope remains for the two condemned men.

An example is the view of the Brisbane Courier Mail, as below:

It seems extraordinary that these two young men can be sentenced to death for peddling drugs when many of those involved in the 2002 Bali bombings – which claimed the lives of 232 people – are now out of jail and free to live their lives.

And they aren’t the only ones let off lightly. Take Abu Bakar Bashir, considered the spiritual leader of radical Islamic group Jemaah Islamiah. In December 2010, Bashir was charged in relation to the discovery of a paramilitary camp in Aceh in 2010, which he is accused of funding. On June 15, 2011 he was found guilty of using violence, or the threat of violence, to incite terrorism and was jailed for 15 years. His lawyers have appealed.

In 2005, Bashir was found guilty of conspiracy over the 2002 Bali bombings and was sentenced to 2½ years in prison. He was released in June 2006 after being cleared. This was despite a long and protracted history of violence and contempt for the law. It seems there are laws for Indonesians and there are laws for foreigners.

The fact that Indonesia is one of the most corrupt countries in the world only adds to the suspicion and sense of injustice over what is about to happen. And the hypocrisy.

Today we reveal how Indonesia has successfully lobbied to commute 189 death sentences in other countries. So it’s all very well for them to do deals with foreign neighbours to get their own people off death row, yet they won’t listen to Australia on these two young men.

No-one doubts that Chan and Sukumaran were stupid to get involved in drugs. They were young, impressionable and incredibly irresponsible. But if rehabilitation is to be a forceful tool in sentencing and warning others of the dangers of drug trafficking, the Indonesians have failed.

Their double standards are breathtaking. If these two young men are executed, the Australian Government should consider every sanction at its disposal to get the message across that we abhor this decision.

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