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The Bali Nine horror: silence from Labor

By Margo Kingston
Created 31/10/2007 - 10:46

Isn't it weird. Amrozi is about to be shot dead as the Indonesian courts decide they can't even look at the nation's constitutional protection of human rights re three of the Bali Nine's appeal against their death by firing squad BECAUSE THEY'RE FOREIGNERS! [1] 

'In conclusion... plaintiffs who are Indonesian nationals have legal standing (in Indonesian law) while plaintiffs who are foreign nationals have no legal standing... so the proposals of plaintiffs three to five cannot be accepted,' (the head judge) said, referring to the trio of Australians.

I, for one, will never forgive this government for handing over our bloody stupid, off the rails young people to the Indons for arrest, knowing Indonesia had the death penalty for such offences. I imagine their parents, and weep for them, and our Prime Minister, his hands bloodied with Australian blood, by CHOICE!

Yet there is silence from Labor. Sure, McLelland said he'd support Downer's representations [2] to the Indonesian government, but where is the outrage? Where is the promise to never ever lest this happen again?

These Bali nine young people were MULES, remember. The AFP has never explained why they didn't let them bring the drugs back here and lead them to the big time crims.

I last wrote about this matter in Death politics [2] in connection with Rudd's slap down of McLelland on capital punishment and Amrozi, despite the fact that Rudd himself opposed the death penalty for Saddam. In that post I republished my original piece of 8 August 2003 on the danger for Australians of both big parties backing the death penalty for Amrozi. We can't say death is fine for foreigners and uncool for us. We just can't.

So far, only the Democrats and The Greens have put out statements on this Australian tragedy, which I've published below. 

Of course Labor doesn't want to enter this field now because of Rudd's hysterical overreaction to McLelland's recent statement of ALP policy. So now Amrozi and the young Australians facing death are linked. We've got nowhere to go, unless we want to ask the Indons to declare us racist.

Webdiarists can revisit the scandal by reading Michael de Angelos's piece of 19 april 2005, Bali busts: our road to a new form of fascism [3]and the 511 (!) comments to it. On that thread I wrote a rI was a nutter. This was it:

"... Howard dumped Australia's long-time opposition to the death penalty when Amrozi was convicted. This horror is the latest manifestation of that terrible bipartisan decision. Howard seems comfortable with the prospect of Australian blood on his hands... No Australian should go to Bali or elsewhere in Indonesia if at all possible. It's too risky. Indonesia is one of the most corrupt nations on earth - see PJ Journey's Maybe I am also a thief [3] - and Australia is now happy to deliver our citizens into its corrupt justice system and let them be executed by its order."

For a good history of the big party's changing positions on capital punishment under pressure, see Crikey's  Policy Comparison [4].


30 October, 2007

Govt could prevent repeat of Bali Nine: Democrats

The Australian Democrats support Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in their constitutional challenge, but blasted the Howard Government for failing to close the loopholes that allowed Australian intelligence to lead to their convictions. 

"The situation for these Australians is a tragedy for all concerned," Democrats' Attorney-General's spokesperson Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said. 

"Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that the Government refuses to learn from this experience and act to prevent a repeat of this situation, where information gathered by the AFP was instrumental in placing young Australians on death row. 

"This year Australia entered into the Lombok Treaty with Indonesia that formalised intelligence and security cooperation between the police and armed forces of the two countries. 

"While Indonesia maintains the death penalty for many offences, the treaty contains no human rights safeguards whatsoever. 

"Despite the case of the Bali Nine being highlighted to the Government during a Senate inquiry, the Government-stacked Senate committee nonetheless recommended that the treaty proceed unamended. 

"While requests for mutual assistance or extradition have a mechanism to allow the Attorney-General to refuse cooperation if the request might subject an Australian to the death penalty, the sort of informal cooperation covered by the Lombok Treaty contains no such safeguards. 

"The AFP even amended their internal guidelines following the Bali Nine case, but the new guidelines failed to provide a mechanism for refusing to cooperate if a 'death penalty offence' is being investigated by Indonesia, provided no charges have been laid. 

"I challenge the Government and the Opposition to commit to closing this loophole as their first act when the new parliament is convened. 

"An in-principle opposition to the death penalty means nothing if the major parties don't have the courage to do all that is in their power to end this abhorrent practice," Senator Stott Despoja said.


31 October, 2007

Government needs to plead for clemency for Bali nine now: Greens

Greens Senator Kerry Nettle today called on the government to start pleading for clemency for the Bali nine now.

"The federal government should not wait until all legal avenues have been pursued before asking the Indonesian President to spare the lives of these young Australians," said Senator Nettle.

"The government waited too long before pleading for clemency for Australian Van Nguyen and they must not repeat that mistake.

"It is disappointing that the Indonesian Constitutional Court has decided that the right to life is not absolute. Now John Howard and Kevin Rudd must use all diplomatic avenues at their disposal.

"Time is running out, yet we have seen little effort from the Howard Government that shows an added sense of  urgency to their approach. In fact there is nothing to suggest that the Prime Minister has taken enough steps to plead for the lives of these young Australians.

"Whoever wins the election must prioritise issuing a directive to the Australian Federal Police not to co-operative with overseas police where the death penalty is possible.

"The Australian Federal Police are complicit in this sentence as they chose  international co-operation with overseas police instead of protecting Australian lives by having the Bali nine arrested on Australian soil.

"The Greens believe that capital punishment should be abolished worldwide,"Senator Nettle said.

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