[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Mar 29 21:13:56 EST 2006
Howard urged to oppose death penalty
Australia should publicly oppose the death penalty for terrorists if it
expects to be taken seriously in its efforts to save Australians from
death row, a senior defence lawyer says.
Lex Lasry, QC, who defended drug runner Nguyen Tuong Van until his
execution by Singapore last year, has urged the government to lobby
against capital punishment for men such as Bali bomber Amrozi, al-Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden and former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
The government's failure to do so weakens its argument against the death
penalty for Australian citizens, he said.
"Australia must declare internationally that it is firmly against the
death penalty in all circumstances regardless of the person involved or
the offence they committed," Mr Lasry said in a lecture to Monash
University Law Chambers in Melbourne.
"If the Australian position on the death penalty is not an equal position
of opposition in all circumstances, including the worst of the worst, then
it's commitment to the UN protocol (to end the death penalty
internationally) is compromised and no-one will take us seriously."
He said the government should not change its opposition to the death
penalty based on the criminal.
"I am outraged by every execution. There is a matter of principle involved
which is, and should be, an inflexible one," he said.
He also lashed out at Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty
who declared his opposition to the death penalty in a television interview
this week, despite potentially exposing the Bali 9 to it by offering
information about them to Indonesian police.
Mr Keelty said "there are good and bad parts about policing, but you have
to take the good and the bad and always work for the greater good."
But Mr Lasry said, "what absolute nonsense, the 'good and bad'. We are
talking about governments killing people".
He also praised the government for its effort to save Nguyen saying the
"support and genuine concern" it showed for Van Nguyen in Singapore was
never in doubt.
"I know the prime minister was moved not only by the plight of Van himself
but by the plight of his mother, Kim," Ms Lasry said.
"At every point of the process we were well supported".
(source: The Age)
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