Nearly six years after the hanging execution of Australian Van Nguyen in Changi prison, Singapore, Australia is faced yet again with the prospect of the execution of two of its citizens.
Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan have exhausted all their legal avenues and have about 12 months to plead for presidential clemency.
If Indonesia’s president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono does not grant clemency, the pair will face the firing squad.
The debate raged during the time Van awaited execution, it was never easy to gauge exactly where Australian’s stood on the issue. Some, like myself, oppose the death penalty in all cases and called on the Australian Government to do everything it can to spare his life. Others while oppose to the practice believed in Singapore’s right to carry out the punishment how they saw fit. While another percentage of the population both support the death penalty and support the execution of Van.
What was clear in the whole debate was that very few people, the majority of the population and even many politicians know very little about the death penalty and how it works. Execution in any form is never quick and almost always messy. While most US states that carry out the death penalty use the lethal injection, it too is slow and painful. The last prisoner executed took an agonising 11 minutes to die.
If we are to confront this most serious of issues, we need to do so with all the facts. If you can’t bring yourself to learn and understand the mechanism of death, should you really be supporting it? The other issue is that of the drug mule and how they find themselves in this position. Again there is a great deal of material on the issue, but for an easier way of understanding one story, try watching the movie. “Maria Full of Grace”