Sunday, September 10, 2006

Australia to plead for lives of Bali Nine

Australia will do all it can to ensure none of the Bali Nine are executed, but the appeals process still has some way to go, Justice Minister Chris Ellison says.
Senator Ellison said a further step might involve an application to the Indonesian Supreme Court to review its decision to impose the death penalty on the six.
"If that fails, then the next step is to apply for presidential clemency. Now all that can take some time," he told ABC television.
Six of the nine face the firing squad after the Supreme Court imposed the death penalty on Scott Rush, 20, Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen, 23, Si Yi Chen, 21, and the youngest of the group, 19-year-old Matthew Norman.
The court also confirmed the death penalty for the group's ringleaders, Andrew Chan, 22, and Myuran Sukumaran, 25.
Senator Ellison said the ultimate card - Prime Minister John Howard directly approaching Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono - should be played at the appropriate time.
"I am not going to pre-empt when that will be. But, certainly, while there is a judicial process possibly in train or to be embarked on we have to be careful," he said.
Senator Ellison said the issue certainly would be raised with Indonesian Justice minister Hamid Awaluddin, who is to visit Canberra next month.
"We have always strongly urged clemency in these situations, to point out that Australia doesn't have a death penalty for its own citizens, that we don't believe in the death penalty," he said.
"We appreciate the strong stance that Indonesia takes in its fight against drugs and we will continue to work with them in relation to that, make no bones about that."
Senator Ellison declined to comment on the apparent discrepancy between the sentences imposed on couriers and organisers.
"Certainly, there is a decision there which now imposes the death penalty in relation to four more of the Bali nine and we will do everything we can to avoid that being carried out," he said.


Some people will feel that the Bali Nine are being persecuted for their crime. I am not one of them. It wasn't a small amount of drugs they were caught smuggling. These drugs would have done serious damage to a lot of lives. It's too bad because they are all so young but the nine knew the risks and must accept responsibility for their actions. Should they be executed? From a moral standpoint, no. But one can't help feeling that drug smuggling needs to be deterred and what better way than the death penalty? Is life imprisonment is enough for them? Maybe. The old saying comes to mind now, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

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