On the execution of Chan and Sukumaran
Anne Coulthurst writes: Re. “Abbott was always going to struggle to save Chan and Sukumaran” (yesterday). Respect Indonesia’s laws? In Bali in 2002, Jamaah Islamiyah bombed and killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, injuring 129; bombed the Marriot Hotel in 2003; bombed the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 2004; a second Bali bomb attack in 2005 killed four Australians; another Marriot Hotel bombing in 2009 simultaneously with the Ritz-Carlton bombing which killed seven people, including three Australians. Around 100 or so extremists, especially those involved in the 2002 horrendous Kuta bombing, have been released. By 2010, only 13 of the 70 JL convicted terrorists were still in prison. By May last year, only five remained in jail. Luckily for them, these convicted terrorists and murderers didn’t have drugs on them.
Richard Middleton writes: Perhaps the Federal Police can explain why they decided it was reasonable to give Chan and Sukumaran up to the Indonesians, knowing full well the penalty for smuggling in that country is death. It is not enough to hide behind officially sanctioned weasel words, that they decided to carry the banned pharmaceuticals. The Federal Police were told who they were (how that poor parent must suffer) and could have kept quiet and tracked them. Had they not been coincidentally caught by the Indonesians (or bailed out of the commercial flight with their goods en-route) and arrived on Australian soil, arrested them there. There is no excuse for what was done. Those who decided to do this had their fingers on the triggers as surely as the execution squad.
Dr Peter Henderson writes: Much has been said about the judicial killings yesterday in Indonesia. First, I think it is worth noting that when those responsible for the Bali bombings were executed I cant remember anybody in government opposing them. In fact, Kevin Rudd, despite supposedly being a follower of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, supported their execution. If we are to take a stand the government must oppose the death penalty’, period. Second, there is plenty of evidence to show that the death penalty corrupts the judicial system and destroys the lives of those unfortunate enough to carry out the executions. In the future Australian foreign policy should simply oppose the imposition of the death penalty whenever and wherever it occurs. Put simply the death penalty represents a descent into barbarity, regardless of the crime.
Don’t forget WA
John Hewett writes: “Tears, anger and diplomatic posturing: how the day unfolded for Australia” (yesterday). As a West Australian I was irritated by Sally Whyte’s reference in the first paragraph of the above article to “3.35am Australian time”, which while it may be true of Queensland, New South Wales Victoria and Tasmania, is not true of the other states and territories of Australia. This is an example of a common tendency towards “Eastern states-centrism” that your journal often displays. The only available defence that I can envisage, being that you are not alone among media companies in practising it, is not sufficient.