[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Mon Oct 8 23:34:33 CDT 2007
Labor to fight death penalty
Poll: Should we campaign against terrorist executions?
A FEDERAL Labor government would oppose the death penalty for the likes of
the Bali bombers, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein as part of a broader
regional strategy to end capital punishment in Asia.
The Opposition foreign affairs spokesman, Robert McClelland, said last
night Labor would establish a coalition with 5 Asian nations that have
abolished the death penalty to persuade 15 other countries in the region,
including China, to do the same.
Mr McClelland said the strategy would succeed only if the Government,
which opposes the death penalty at home and for Australians abroad, also
opposed it for foreign terrorists and tyrants, no matter how hideous their
"At the highest levels, Australia's public comments about the death
penalty must be consistent with policy," he told a Labor human rights
forum in the Sydney seat of Wentworth. "This is especially the case if we
are going to tactfully and successfully drive a regional abolitionist
The timing of his comments was controversial given that Friday marks the
anniversary of the October 12, 2002, Bali bombings which killed 202
people, including 88 Australians.
Research by the Australian National University found that after the 2004
election 51 per cent of voters supported the reintroduction of the death
penalty in Australia.
The Prime Minister, John Howard, opposes the death penalty but supports it
for bin Laden, the al-Qaeda mastermind who is still at large, Saddam, the
former Iraqi dictator who was hanged in December, and the Bali bomber
Amrosi, one of three perpetrators on death row in Indonesia.
Mr McClelland said Mr Howard's inconsistency in these specific cases
exposed Australia to claims of hypocrisy and undermined diplomatic efforts
to spare the life of Nguyen Tuong Van, the convicted Australian drug
trafficker who was hanged in Singapore in 2005.
Australia has also mounted diplomatic efforts to prevent the executions by
Indonesia of condemned members of the Bali 9.
The Labor leader, Kevin Rudd, has consistently opposed the death penalty.
In December, he said Saddam should have been punished for his crimes but
The policy announced by Mr McClelland is based on a research paper on
capital punishment produced last year by the Lowy Institute.
The author, Michael Fullilove, said consistency was important in all
cases, "including the hardest cases".
"It conforms with Australian values but it also serves our interests," he
"The basic position from which to petition foreign governments on behalf
of our own people like the Bali 9 is one of consistent opposition to the
death penalty in all cases. The problem with these inconsistencies is they
erode the absolute underpinnings of our stance and make us look
Dr Fullilove said Australia did not need to actively oppose through
diplomatic channels the execution of tyrants and terrorists abroad "but
the rhetoric must be consistent".
Asia, led by China, accounts for 80 % of executions globally.
Labor's approach would be nuanced, starting with pressure for countries to
reduce the number of crimes attracting the death penalty, abolish
mandatory executions and publish statistics on the number of executions.
(source: Sydney Morning Herald)
Rudd admonishes McClelland over death penalty remarks
Federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd has criticised his foreign affairs
spokesman Robert McClelland over a speech which was critical of the
Government's approach to the death penalty.
Mr McClelland last night said Prime Minister John Howard supported capital
punishment for an Indonesian terrorist, but he pushed for Singapore to
spare the life of an Australian drug trafficker in 2005.
Kevin Rudd says terrorists should rot in jail and a Government led by him
would only intervene diplomatically to try to save the lives of
Australians sentenced to death overseas.
"I think as we approach the 5th anniversary of the Bali bombings I believe
that the speech delivered last night was insensitive in terms of its
timing," he said.
"I've indicated that to Mr McClelland this morning and he concurs with
(source: ABC News)
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