[Deathpenalty] death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Oct 31 22:41:26 CDT 2007
We speak with forked tongue on death penalty: ex-judge
AUSTRALIA was guilty of speaking with a "forked tongue" on capital
punishment and has sacrificed principle for policy, according to former
High Court chief justice Sir Gerard Brennan.
Sir Gerard also drew attention to the role of the Australian Federal
Police in the arrest of the Bali 9, particularly Scott Rush, whose parents
asked the police to warn him off from becoming a drug mule.
"We can only hope that Australia can effectively intervene so save the
lives of those condemned, including 21-year-old Scott Rush, after exposing
him to the very risk of execution," he said.
In an address to the Law and Justice Foundation in Sydney, Sir Gerard
said: "We cannot declare the execution of Australians to be barbaric and
the execution of Indonesians to be acceptable.
"A country which speaks about such an important issue with a forked tongue
can hardly lay claim to the rule of law and forfeits its credibility in
the international forum."
He referred to the repudiation by both parties of the proposal by
Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Robert McClelland that Australia
should join Asian countries that do not have the death penalty to persuade
others to abolish capital punishment. Mr McClelland said protection should
be extended to extreme cases, such as the Bali bombers.
While his comments were consistent with Labor policy, he was slapped down
by his leader, Kevin Rudd, who said he would use diplomacy only in support
of Australians facing execution.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said this week that, while he was
opposed to the death penalty and would lobby Indonesia to save the Bali 9,
"as far as Indonesians are concerned, who have killed 88 Australians, we
will not be making any effort on their behalf".
Sir Gerard said that, should the Bali nine be spared, "why do we repudiate
a proposal to persuade those South-East Asian nations who still carry out
executions to change?"
He also condemned Australia's anti-terrorism laws for trespassing upon the
basic notion of natural justice. He said a person could be detained,
virtually incommunicado, without ever being accused of involvement in
terrorist activity, on grounds that were kept secret and without effective
opportunity to challenge the detention.
The cases of Mamdouh Habib and David Hicks starkly illustrated the
injustices that can occur when power is exercised without effective
And the "sad experience" of Mohamed Haneef had eroded public confidence in
the agencies entrusted to safeguard public security, he said.
(source: The Age)
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