Indonesia's Lesson to The World

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

This morning we wake to the news that Bali 9 duo, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran faced the firing squad on Kambangan Island. President Joko Widodo upheld the death sentence after the pair were found guilty of drug trafficking in 2006, making them the first Australians to be executed in Indonesia.

It’s not the first time Australians have been executed for drug trafficking abroad. Van Tuong Nguyen was executed by hanging in Singapore in 2005, while Malaysia executed Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers in 1986 and Michael McAuliffe in 1993.

There are 17 Statutory provisions under Indonesian law that the death sentence can be applied. Since 1999, 41 people have been executed for various crimes, with 20 related to drug trafficking or narcotics. 

Many Australians share mixed emotions regarding the deaths of these two men. President Widodo’s steadfast language, clearly indicated at an early stage to both the Australian Government and the families that his decision was not going to change. For those who believe Indonesia have not considered the legal rights of Chan and Sukumaran, we just need to cast our minds back to 5 other members of the Bali 9 who’s sentences were upgraded to the death penalty, only to be reduced to life imprisonment on appeal in the Indonesian Supreme Court. 

Indonesia, like Australia, shares an ever growing problem with drugs. Just this month, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the formation of a national ice task force, to look at how to combat the drug, which he labelled “pernicious and evil”. In other words, drugs are having a harmful effect on our nation.

It’s unclear what deterrent the death penalty has on the trafficking of drugs in Indonesia, but one thing is for sure, Indonesia means business on their war on drugs. The execution of 6 foreigners earlier this year was the start of an international wake up call. There’s little doubt in my mind that the Indonesian Government have exploited the executions for further international media coverage, but it is no different to the hard stance taken by the Australian Government on illegal boat arrivals.

As Australians, we expect those who come to our country to abide by our laws or face the consequences. We can not expect other nations to soften their laws because of our larrikin reputation, contribution in foreign aid or any other excuse.

I feel for the families, but I support the Indonesian's decision to uphold their law. 

This is a wake up call! When you travel abroad, you are subject to the laws of that nation. 

Pauline Hanson



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