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The Bali Bombers & the death penalty

 
 
msolga
 
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 02:42 am
As the writer of this article asks: What is our best answer to the Bali bombers?
How do those of us who have consistently opposed capital punishment respond the the perpetrators of the 2002 Bali bombings being executed for their actions? Do we make a distinction between those who were responsible for a shocking "terrorist" act in Bali, yet on the other hand, abhor the use of capital punishment by (some Asian) governments intent on punishing drug smugglers by imposing the death penalty?
As a long time opponent of capital punishment I've found my own reaction to the execution of the Bali bombers (any day now) confronting & quite confusing.
What should our response be?:


Quote:
The planned execution of Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra forces us to ask if our opposition to the death penalty only applies when it affects Australians - and if so, then why. In many ways, our fates are shaped by accidents of birth - our health, wealth, opportunity - all the result of factors over which we have no control. It might seem like sheer bad luck to have been born a citizen of a state that executes its condemned.

However, as I noted above, the question here is not about the attitude of the Indonesian state - but about our own perspectives. Do we think that an accident of birth is relevant in this matter? Do we think that it's OK to be indifferent or inconsistent when it comes to the fates of strangers - or to those whom we assume to be very different to us because of geography, culture or religion?

That is how Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra think. They think that people can be killed because they are different. And they assume that we would have them killed for the same reason. No doubt they believe that Australians only care about their own, that we will celebrate their deaths because we hate Muslims, that we treat people like them as less than us. It is these beliefs, held by the Bali bombers, that we privilege ourselves at their expense that allows them to delude themselves into thinking their bombing to be a noble deed waged against a corrupt foe.

What is our best answer to the Bali bombers? Is it that we should condemn the death penalty for our own but seek its imposition on others? Is it that we should look away and remain silent? Or should we answer by denying the core of their claim - that we are hypocrites? Even now, should we call for them to be spared and require them to live out their lives confounded by generosity of spirit and forced to live with the evil that they have done?


http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/03/2408244.htm
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 02:46 am
Background information to the Bali bombings:

Quote:
The 2002 Bali bombings occurred on 12 October 2002 in the tourist district of Kuta on the Indonesian island of Bali. The attack was the deadliest act of terrorism in the history of Indonesia, killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

The attack involved the detonation of three bombs: a backpack-mounted device carried by a suicide bomber; a large car bomb, both of which were detonated in or near popular nightclubs in Kuta; and a third much smaller device detonated outside the United States consulate in Denpasar, causing only minor damage.

Various members of Jemaah Islamiyah, a violent Islamist group, were convicted in relation to the bombings, including three individuals who were sentenced to death. Abu Bakar Bashir, the alleged spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, was found guilty and sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment.[1] Riduan Isamuddin, generally known as Hambali and the suspected former operational leader of Jemaah Islamiyah, is in U.S. custody in an undisclosed location, and has not been charged in relation to the bombing or any other crime.[2]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Bali_bombings
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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 02:55 am

Quote:
Executing the Bali bombers: Why the delay, ask Indonesians

Few tears will be shed in Indonesia for the three convicted Bali bombers as they face their execution. There will certainly be more cheers. The death penalty is firmly a part of Indonesia's legal code and there is no chance that this will change any time soon.

Western liberals regard judicial killing as barbarous. In Australia, as in many countries, execution no longer exists as the ultimate sanction the law may impose on a criminal. This is as it should be. Locking up killers and throwing away the key is a far better option.

But ethical appreciation differs between societies, as do the laws applying to crime and punishment. In Indonesia, where the prevailing view is that a person is subject to predestination, having your final moment facing a firing squad is widely regarded less as a matter for repetitious jurisprudence than one of any questions being directed to the Fates: It is either Insha'Allah or karma. Even Indonesia's substantial national Christian community is unmoved by the moral arguments advanced in the West about the ethical benefits of allowing murderers to continue to draw breath at public expense when they have killed people.

Thus the vast majority of Indonesians - themselves overwhelmingly Muslim - are indifferent to the fate of Amrozi, Mukhlas (Ali Ghufron) and Imam Samudra: even if their political and religious motivation for mass murder is explainable (and it is, to some Indonesians), their crime is understood as horrific and unjustified. It is therefore unarguable, in the Indonesian mind, that they should pay the price exacted by the law.

Moreover, there is growing impatience with the fact that the three self-proclaimed "martyrs" - mere dupes in the great game of world jihad, dull-witted foot soldiers in the ersatz war against the Infidel being waged on the periphery of Indonesian society - have been doing everything they can to delay their departure to paradise.

This view - expressed by feedback reader Izzudin to the Jakarta Post newspaper - is typical: "Just do it. Don't drag out every last moment of drama like some [TV] soap opera. Just execute them quietly like any other convicted criminal and be finished with it."


http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/11/03/2408592.htm
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 03:30 am
@msolga,
Quote:
As the writer of this article asks: What is our best answer to the Bali bombers?
How do those of us who have consistently opposed capital punishment respond the the perpetrators of the 2002 Bali bombings being executed for their actions? Do we make a distinction between those who were responsible for a shocking "terrorist" act in Bali, yet on the other hand, abhor the use of capital punishment by (some Asian) governments intent on punishing drug smugglers by imposing the death penalty?
As a long time opponent of capital punishment I've found my own reaction to the execution of the Bali bombers (any day now) confronting & quite confusing.



I haven't found it confronting and confusing at all, personally.


Capital punishment, IMO, is wrong whatever the circumstances.

If we waver because we feel strong emotion, then we need to return to our ethical bases, and be aware that such emotion is common but not remotely rational nor compassionate.

Sorry if I sound like a prig!



Also...it will make them martyrs.

msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 03:40 am
@dlowan,
I do agree with you, Deb.
But what's made it so difficult for me to publicly advocate for leniency in this case is that the Bali bombers have been quite (obnoxiously, even) unrepentant for their actions. Sounding as though they would do exactly the same again, given half the chance. That's what I've found difficult about this situation. I guess others (who would normally be totally opposed to the death penalty) here in Oz have, too, because they've remained (publicly, anyway) silent.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 03:43 am
@dlowan,
Quote:
Also...it will make them martyrs.


An excellent reason not to execute them, I agree.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 03:51 am
@msolga,
msolga wrote:

I do agree with you, Deb.
But what's made it so difficult for me to publicly advocate for leniency in this case is that the Bali bombers have been quite (obnoxiously, even) unrepentant for their actions. Sounding as though they would do exactly the same again, given half the chance. That's what I've found difficult about this situation. I guess others (who would normally be totally opposed to the death penalty) here in Oz have, too, because they've remained (publicly, anyway) silent.



Have they? Been silent?


Lemme at 'em!!!

Who are "they" by the way?


Of course they would do it again....they are fanatics.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 04:12 am
@dlowan,
"They" are the usual Oz anti-death penalty/anti-capital punishment advocates & organisations who have argued their case so eloquently & with such compassion in recent years. They have been very quite through all this. I'm not blaming them at all. It is a very hard case to argue & win support with many outraged (by the Bali bombings) Australians. There's also the chance they could have the exact opposite effect & lose ground for their cause.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 06:02 am
@msolga,




Quote:
Last meal as killers prepare to meet their God
November 3, 2008/Sydney Morning Herald

RELATIVES of the Bali killers Amrozi and Mukhlas prepared the bombers' last meal yesterday in anticipation of their appointment with a firing squad as early as this morning.

Parents who lost children in the 2002 Bali bombings had mixed feelings about the impending executions.

"I just want it all to be over," said Cynthia Foley, whose 34-year-old son Shane was among the 202 people who were murdered in the blasts.

"I'm not the type of person that would have wanted [execution], but they seem to have been partying in prison. It's not right."

But Gayle Dunn, the mother of 18-year-old Craig, still opposes the death sentence for her son's killers.

"I just think they're getting what they wanted," she said. "They're just going to become martyrs."

Ms Dunn has channelled her grief over Shane - "a great kid who loved surfing, camping, fishing" - into raising money for a community centre in Ulladulla that will help young victims of loss and trauma.

Brian Deegan, who lost his 22-year-old son Josh, has vocally opposed the death penalty since it was first proposed for the bombers. "It's a violent episode, and it's being used partly in my son's name. And that's something that I take no pleasure in," he said.

In the East Java village of Tenggulun the killers' family were packing dates, flat breads and sweets from the Middle East for the condemned and sarongs as gifts for other prisoners.

They left for Nusakambangan prison late yesterday to see the brothers and their fellow death-row inmate, Imam Samudra.

Their lawyers headed to Denpasar to try to lodge documents for another judicial review on behalf of the families - a tactic intended to make the executions appear premature and unjust.

Jaffar Sidik said his brothers must "accept their situation and take it as a test from God". ...<cont>


http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2008/11/02/1225560645077.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1
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gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 06:06 am
@msolga,
http://mysite.verizon.net/jialpert/Politics/Pershing.htm
0 Replies
 
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 06:29 pm
From today's Sydney morning Herald. Obviously a volatile situation. Which could explain why Australian opponents of the death penalty are treading very carefully on this one.:

Fanatics fury over executions

http://www.smh.com.au/ffximage/2008/11/03/01indonesia_wideweb__470x257,0.jpg
A guard patrols outside the Australian embassy in Jakarta as security is tightened before the executions. Inset: Tarlyem, the mother of Amrozi and Mukhlas.
Photo: Reuters


FAMILY and supporters of the Bali bombers are using the time before their executions to peddle anti-Australian conspiracy theories and praise the condemned men as holy warriors as they complained bitterly yesterday about being locked out of the prison where Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra are being held.

An Indonesian judge insisted yesterday that an appeal by the bombers would not delay their executions, meaning they could go ahead as early as today.

Extra security was in place in the port town of Cilacap, a short distance from the prison island of Nusakambangan, with barbed wire being rolled out around the docks to prevent access by supporters and journalists.

A large team of lawyers and family members are in Cilacap, spending much of their time holed up in a mosque. They have brought food and letters of support for the condemned men but have so far been denied access by the Jakarta office of the Attorney-General.

They arrived at the docks in a minivan yesterday with a huge media entourage in tow but were blocked by police. They vowed to stay in the town until they were allowed to visit the prisoners and threatened protests if they continued to be denied access.

Already, the family and lawyers in Cilacap have been holding court with the media as authorities decide when they are going to put the killers in front of a firing squad.

Lulu Jamaludin, a younger brother of Imam Samudra, said that members of the Bali nine - the Australians convicted of heroin smuggling - should be killed before the bombers, adding that Australia had been paying for the executions of his brother and his co-conspirators.

"Obviously, Australia is funding it," he said


Islamist websites in Indonesia were promoting the same conspiracy theory, saying Australia had donated 3 billion rupiah (about $420,000) to pay for the execution.

The charge is absurd but is indicative of the kind of rhetoric that is getting play in Indonesia in the rarefied atmosphere as the executions approach.

Agus Sentiana, a lawyer who acts for Imam Samudra, said a group of supporters wanted to set up a foundation in his honour and build a militant Islamic boarding school in his home town of Serang in West Java.

"We want to immortalise his spirit," he said.

Another part of the public relations strategy employed by advocates for the bombers is to launch legal challenges such as an appeal made yesterday to the Denpasar District Court.

But Indonesia's Supreme Court said last night that the bombers had exhausted all their legal options. The latest appeal "will not change or delay the execution," Supreme Court judge Djoko Sarwoko said.

A spokesman for the Indonesian Attorney-General's office, Jasman Panjaitan, said the executions could take place any time between now and November 15.

The Indonesian newspaper Suara Merdeka reported that the three bombers spent yesterday reading the Koran and fasting.

A prison source said the bombers were locked in the main part of their isolation cells and denied access to exercise areas.

The prison chief, Bambang Winahyo, said the bombers appeared calm and ready to die, in line with their repeated assertions that they were looking forward to becoming "martyrs". .........

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/fanatics-fury-over-bali-executions/2008/11/03/1225560735879.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

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msolga
 
  1  
Reply Mon 3 Nov, 2008 06:55 pm
@dlowan,
[/quote]Who are "they" by the way?[/quote]

By "they" I meant many of the very vocal anti-capital punishment advocates in Australia. Including the media & members of the legal profession, who were extremely active in the campaign to save convicted (Australian) drug smuggler, Nguyen Tuong Van from the death penalty in Singapore in 2005..They were unsuccessful in that campaign but were extremely successful in gaining maximum publicity for their cause. My point is that there has been very little public comment at all about the the imminent execution of the Bali bombers. Some quotes from the BBC's coverage of this issue in 2005:

"Australia mourns ... recoiling from the chilling spectacle of a state, in all its power and with an agonisingly deliberate slowness, strangling life from a single young civilian. "
- from the Sydney Morning Herald

"The death penalty is wrong - no ifs, no buts... Today, with the outrageous exception of the US, nations where political power depends on the electoral assent of the governed are likely to have abandoned capital punishment."
Editorial from the AUSTRALIAN newspaper

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4494704.stm

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