Daily Archives: February 14, 2015
You never give up hope, you can never stop fighting, but for the lawyers and advocates of Andrew and Myu the cards left to play are now all but out. Only one man has the ability to save them from being shot to death on a small island and he is the Prime Minister of Australia. It would mean adopting the actions of the very country he has to convince, Indonesia. Who forcibly lobby, send large influential delegations and even pay millions of dollars to ensure their own citizens are not executed in other countries.
In 2014 Indonesia paid $2.1milllion to buy the clemency of Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad who had been sentenced to death for the murder of her employer’s wife and theft of the couple’s money. Indonesia also spent millions buying the clemency of some 44 other Indonesian citizens from various countries in the same year who had been convicted to die around the world. Currently the Jokowi Administration is lobbying Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran and Qatar for the same reprieve for Indonesians currently housed in the death rows of those countries. Yet for the unequivocal stand Indonesia takes against capital punishment for its own citizens it refuses to show any mercy to foreigners in its jails. Already this year five foreign nationals have been put to death by firing squads, not for murder or terrorism or crimes against children but for drug offences.
Now Tony Abbott must do the same and drop the well-worn line that Australia doesn’t interfere in the legal systems of other nations. Just like Indonesia and every other country we can and do interfere all the time when it suits our needs. But we also must do it to uphold the great notion of a fair go and our obligations to International Law. In fact Abbott’s political hero, John Howard, once diverted his plane on way to Nigeria to the Maldives to make the case for an Australian citizen serving a life sentence for drug offences. Five days after the then PM’s visit Australian Mark Scanlon was released and on his way back to Australia.
We must intervene because this is about human life, this is not a trade deal gone wrong, a disagreement over diplomatic relations with a third nation or a vote at the UN. This is about the life of two young Australian’s who only wish to serve the rest of their lives in prison, not die! There is no deterrent factor when it comes to the death penalty; study after study has failed to show any such link. Although some studies show in fact that in jurisdictions with the death penalty crime is in fact worse and more rampant. The idea of “fairness” in the Indonesian justice system is also open to great question when not only are their own drug traffickers lobbied for but the man behind the Bali Bombings that killed 202 people only receiving 2 ½ years behind bars.
Then we must question what does killing these two men actually achieve other than the political goals of Jokowi? There is no deterrent, they’ve served ten years and will serve many more even if clemency is granted and they have lived this last decade always wondering if today will be their last. Is that not punishment enough? Yet despite this there is no doubt at all that both Andrew and Myu are reformed men and acknowledge their past misdeeds. They prove this not in their words but actions, Myu has become a wonderful artist and mentor inside the prison, Andrew provides religious counsel to his fellow inmates and together they have guided many young Indonesians to a better life upon release.
They could continue to do this for years to come, they want to, but for a crime that would have seen them receive some years here in Australia, committed at a young age, they will pay with their lives. And do you really believe that then just in their very early twenties these two young men were the masterminds of the plot to import drugs to Australia? Of course not, somewhere in Australia lives a man or men, known to law enforcement who has profited for years from this very trade. This person has many victims on his hands; From those whom have been addicted and consumed his product and the many young people whom have sold his powder in very real fear for their lives if they didn’t. Only someone completely ignorant of the facts and the basics of the world of narcotics trafficking would believe that two boys just out of school could mastermind such an International plot.
Perhaps this is something the AFP might have considered when they sold nine young Australian’s out to the death row of Bali when they tipped the Indonesian’s off. Not only did they condemn them to the fate that now awaits, they lost the opportunity to gather valuable intelligence from the nine on just who this Mr Big is and the evidence that could have convicted him. For their part the AFP will have blood on their hands and also the communities’ knowledge that for the last decade more drugs have hit Australia’s street because of this failing.
And so now all things must be on the table and Prime Minister Abbott must call Jakarta or even better make a visit like John Howard did in 2002 and not leave until Death is off the table. For all their faults internationally and domestically, for all the same hypocrisies America shows on the issue of Capital Punishment as Indonesia now does, only six American’s have been executed by other states since 1860. Killing our citizens must have consequences, from the weaker measures such as recalling Ambassadors and calling in Indonesia’s man in Canberra to tougher measures like trade sanctions and the suspension of aid, nothing is too big when it comes to the saving of human life. Why have a government at all if they cannot protect the people who vote them in, even those who commit crimes. How we protect the “least” amongst us says a lot about who we are as a people.
Lawyers, Advocates, Families, Friends and those in the community who care have done their best. The carrot has been offered over and over again to the Indonesian judicial system and Government that yes these men must pay a price but not the price of their lives. Now the only man who carries the stick must do so to defend life and ensure that not only are Andrew and Myu not killed, but don’t have to live what will be a difficult life behind bars with the thought of execution hanging over their heads.
Otherwise, two young men, who made a god awful mistake, a criminal one yes, but who have reformed their lives…. Will be taken from their cells at midnight to the beach or into an opening in the jungle on the small island of Nusakambangan. They will be blindfolded as they are marched to their final destination. Stand if you can, but most cannot, so they sit or kneel as they wait and wait, unable to see what goes on. What is happening is 12 soldiers are assembled and will fire on command at the chest of the men destroying their bodies. If, as sometimes happens, they do not die from these shots, The commanding officer will draw his sidearm and execute the still breathing men at point blank range.
This is not justice, this is murder… and for what?! Prime Minister Tony Abbott, you were elected to serve all Australian’s, to uphold our laws (Domestic and International) and do whatever it takes to defend the lives of our citizens, because all of us make up this community we call home. Fight for liberty, fight for life, because in the end, what else is worth fighting for?