[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Nov 12 22:50:23 CST 2008
Smith will seek mercy for doomed Bali 9 men
The Australian Government will seek clemency for the 3 Australians on
death row in Indonesia if their legal appeals fail, Foreign Minister
Stephen Smith has confirmed.
Mr Smith said yesterday he and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd raised the fate
of convicted drug traffickers Andrew Chan, Scott Rush and Myuran Sukumaran
with the Indonesian Government, including President Susilo Bambang
''Both the Prime Minister and I have indicated to respectively the
President and to the Foreign Minister that, if and when all legal and
appeal processes have been concluded so far as the remaining members of
the Bali Nine are concerned, and if one or more of those continue to be
subject to a death penalty ... then the Australian Government will make a
plea of clemency on their behalf,'' he said.
Mr Smith was speaking at a press conference in Canberra with Indonesian
Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda after the 9th Australia-Indonesia
ministerial forum. Dr Wirajuda defended Indonesia's use of the death
penalty and hoped differences on the issue would not affect the bilateral
''Let's continue our discussions at the bilateral and global level on how
we deal with it, and don't bilateralise the problem as only the problem
between Indonesia and Australia,'' he said.
Mr Smith said the ministerial forum spent ''a considerable period of time
discussing the global financial crisis; the adverse consequences of that
for Australia and Indonesia and our region''.
The foreign ministers discussed counter-terrorism cooperation and issued a
joint statement on efforts to combat people smuggling. Dr Wirajuda
welcomed Australian's support for launching the Bali Democracy Forum, with
Mr Rudd agreeing to co-chair the meeting with Dr Yudhoyono on December
9-10. ''This is an important and, in fact, strategic initiative, because
for the 1st time it will put the questions of democracy, promotion of
democracy, on the agenda of our regional discourse in Asia,'' he said.
Mr Smith said Australia would provide more than $6million to help
Indonesia prepare for elections in April next year.
(source: Canberra Times)
Indonesian foreign minister speaks out on death penalty
Australia and Indonesia have again showcased their strong bilateral
relationship, during annual ministerial talks in Canberra, covering issues
from the global financial crisis to people trafficking and climate change.
And while addressing the media after the talks, Indonesia's Foreign
Minister, Hassan Wirajuda, eloquently explained his country's debate on
the death penalty, which Australia opposes.
Presenter: Linda Mottram
Speakers: Stephen Smith, foreign minister of Australia; Hassan Wirajuda,
foreign minister of Indonesia
LINDA MOTTRAM: Australia hosted 7 Indonesian Government ministers for the
ninth Australia-Indonesia ministerial forum and if there was any doubt
about the closeness of the bilateral relationship Australia's Foreign
Minister Stephen Smith put it into numbers. With the holding of the
ministerial forum in Canberra, this week brings to a tally of 29
ministerial visits between our two countries since the government came to
office. And it's less than a year since the current Australian government
was elected though Stephen Smith also acknowledged that the previous
Australian administration had done much to build the ties.
This meeting was held in the shadow of some very big international
concerns, the financial crisis of course, but also as Indonesia's foreign
minister Hassan Wirajuda highlighted global food security. The ministers
also worked through people trafficking measures, trade issues, security
matters and the coming G20 meeting in Washington - the right forum the 2
sides agreed, to deal with the economic panic gripping the world. But in
the wake of the execution of the Bali bombers and Australia's continuing
support for a moratorium on the death penalty, there was a very obvious
and potentially raw point of policy difference. Answering media questions,
Mr Smith reiterated Australia's position while Dr Wirajuda rejected any
inference of a problem for the relationship in an eloquent and patient
explanation of his country's position.
HASSAN WIRAJUDA: It's not only that Australia and Indonesia are divided on
the issue of capital punishment. The fact is that the whole world is
divided into groups of countries who have abolished that penalty and those
who still retain that penalty. So, on that matter my advice would be,
let's continue our discussions at the bilateral and global levels on how
we deal with it and don't bilateralise the problem as only a problem
between Indonesia and Australia.
I would like to say also that the question of the death penalty has been
widely discussed, even now as we are an open and democratic society. I
will share with you, for example, the Indonesian National Commission of
Human Rights has been favouring, or championing in fact, the abolition of
death penalty. So on the moratorium as well as on the principle questions
of capital punishment, this has been discussed almost every year since the
early 1990s and Indonesia would actively participate at the UN forums.
This is the nature of the problems we are both facing.
LINDA MOTTRAM: Dr Wirajuda agreed that in the case of the Bali bombers he
would have preferred fewer Indonesian media images of the aftermath of
DR HASSAN WIRAJUDA: Perhaps that's also the cost we have to pay in open
and democratic Indonesia.
LINDA MOTTRAM: And in perfect bilateral lock step, Stephen Smith.
STEPHEN SMITH: Of course it's always open for the Australian media and the
Indonesian media not to report these matters but I'm not suggesting or
urging that upon you. As Minister Wirajuda says, this is part and parcel
of an open democratic society with diverse media.
LINDA MOTTRAM: So a measure of bilateral maturity was illustrated where,
despite such a sharp policy difference, nothing was jeopardised in the
relationship. Indonesia faces parliamentary and presidential elections
next year and the vibrancy of the country's democracy was a repeated theme
of the 2 ministers' pronouncements. Australia is giving AU$6 million
towards helping run the polls. Indonesia is now said to be the world's 3rd
largest democracy. Dr Wirajuda enthused that given Indonesia's successful
democratic transformation the country's role with Australian support was
now to promote democracy, human rights and good governance in the wider
(source: Radio Australia)
Bombers' deaths don't take away the pain and evil
The Bali bombings in 2002 were a disgusting attack on the innocent. The
pain felt by the families of those killed or maimed - physically or
psychologically - by this act of barbarism shall continue, unfortunately,
as long as the memories remain. I do not for one moment pretend to fathom
the depth of anger and sorrow of all those - Australian, Indonesian and
others - who have been affected by these acts of terrorism. But I do not
believe, killing an evil person expunges the evil they delivered.
The harshest punishment for criminals is not execution, no matter how
barbarous the act for which they are being punished. Rather, I believe to
take the world to a better place, the greater punishment is to maintain
that nothing done by criminals like these will alter our belief that all
life is precious, even the lives of these criminals, lives which have been
defiled by their own actions.
The bombers should have been made to live their lives to a conclusion
imposed by nature's own course. Criminals abrogate the liberties of
freedom, and accordingly society has the right to incarcerate criminals
for the term of their life if required.
I believe the evil inspired by a criminal's actions can be reinvigorated
by an introverted martyrdom pitch to a particular constituency. The
execution of the 3 Bali bombers - Amrozi, his brother Mukhlas, and Imam
Samudra - by firing squad provides their evil with an ongoing stage, and a
rallying call for those who wish to achieve their twisted goals or emulate
Already there have been threats of reprisal attacks in Indonesia, and
Australia has issued a warning to those considering travelling there,
especially students celebrating the end of school years.
It is a country's right to pursue the law as desired by a legislature
representative of the people. Australia cannot preach. But Australia
should make sure its position on things such as capital punishment is
consistent. We, as a nation, either believe in capital punishment, or we
do not. We either believe it is acceptable on occasions, or believe it is
There are three Australians on death row in Indonesia and the Foreign
Minister, Stephen Smith, has flagged Australia's co-sponsorship of a
resolution at the UN General Assembly calling for a moratorium on capital
As this is a matter of conscience, I am speaking only for myself. I would
support such a resolution.
The hardest path for a nation to take is to acknowledge its disgust and
anger - and in some instances hate - of certain actions, but resolve its
path of justice will not be diverted by other people's barbarous acts.
Shooting someone in the heart while they are tied to a wooden stake - or
however death is administered - brutalises us as well as them.
A lifetime in jail leaves us with our dignity, and the convicted with a
lifetime of consideration in which, at some point, they may decide one
thing that could, possibly, bring some solace to the victims: an
acknowledgement their actions were wrong.
We have the right to protect life from imminent danger by whatever means
available. But when the threat is subdued and the public no longer at
risk, what angels do we feed by seeking retribution through destroying an
(source: Barnaby Joyce is a National Party senator for Queensland; Sydney
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