There is confusion within the Indonesian government over whether the executions of convicted Bali Nine drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be delayed. Indonesia informed the Australian embassy last week that it planned to execute the pair this month.
However, now Indonesia’s Justice and Human Rights minister, Yasonna Laoly, is suggesting their executions could be delayed by the countries current political situation, namely a war of sorts between corruption investigators and the national police, long considered the country’s most corrupt institution.
Indonesia’s attorney-general, Muhammad Prasetyo, said that would not affect plans to execute the Australians. The minister’s department and the attorney-general’s office have to coordinate to arrange the executions ::::
The letter to the Indonesian ambassador to Australia was signed by 111 MPs, including chief Government whip Philip Ruddock, chief Opposition whip Chris Hayes and Greens leader Christine Milne.
“Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan have demonstrated genuine remorse and have become model prisoners, working constructively at Kerobokan, not only on their own rehabilitation and reform but also for that of other prisoners,” the letter stated. “Also, we believe it is significant that both Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran were only apprehended as a result of the Australian Federal Police providing information to Indonesian police. Their crime, serious as it was, was intended to impact on Australians in Australia, not Indonesia.”
On Monday, the mothers of Chan and Sukumaran met with Indonesia’s human rights commission in Jakarta in an attempt to get support to save their sons’ lives.
Raji Sukumaran later told a press conference in Bali she was there to beg president Joko Widodo, the vice-president, attorney-general and people to “show mercy”.
“I beg you to take the time to look properly into the facts of this case. You will see many reasons why the case is different,” she said. “I understand the serious crime my son committed. They are both very sorry for this. We are very sorry for this. They are not the same people who committed the crime almost 10 years ago.”
Helen Chan made another passionate plea for her son’s life.
“I would like to beg the Indonesian president to have clemency on him and give him a chance to change his future,” Ms Chan said.
MPs Write to Request Mercy
Updated 9 Feb 2015 :: More than 100 Federal MPs have written to the Indonesian government asking for the death sentences on Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan to be lifted.
In a letter to the Indonesian ambassador to Australia, sent last week, the MPs say the imminent execution of the two Bali Nine drug traffickers is of “deep concern”.
The letter has been signed by 111 MPs, including chief Government whip Philip Ruddock, chief Opposition whip Chris Hayes, and Greens leader Senator Christine Milne.
“Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan have demonstrated genuine remorse and have become model prisoners, working constructively at Kerobokan, not only on their own rehabilitation and reform, but also for that of other prisoners,” the letter states.
“Also, we believe it is significant that both Mr Chan and Mr Sukumaran were only apprehended as a result of the Australian Federal Police providing information to Indonesian Police. Their crime, serious as it was, was intended to impact on Australians in Australia, not Indonesia.”
The two Australians were sentenced to death by an Indonesian court in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of the country and into Australia, the pair are due to be executed this month.
Seven other Australians involved in the smuggling ring have been sentenced to life in prison in an Indonesian jail.
Despite pleas for clemency and petitions from the Australian government, members of the clergy and the men’s distressed mothers, the Indonesian president has so far refused to grant them pardons.
The MPs “humbly request” that the prisoners’ “rehabilitation, their suffering and their families’ suffering” be considered.
“And upon the reasoning of the Indonesian Constitutional Court, we request that their death sentences be commuted to an appropriate term of imprisonment or that they be deported back to Australia on condition they face the criminal justice system here.”
Labor MP Melissa Parke told Parliament today that her message to the Indonesian parliament was that the execution “will serve no useful purpose”.
“Your country fights for mercy for your own citizens sentenced to the death penalty in other countries,” she said. “It is in your nation’s interest to consider mercy for people on death row in Indonesia.”
Ms Parke told Sukumaran and Chan that their “families and your country are proud of you”.
“We are fighting for the wonderful human beings you have become.”
She said she was also hoping to have Parliament pass a motion calling on Indonesia to commute the death sentences to a prison sentence.
Lawyers Launch Rare Challenge Against Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo
Updated 8 Feb 2015 :: Lawyers for the two Australians due to be executed in Indonesia this month are launching a rare challenge against the Indonesian president’s refusal to grant them pardons.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the ringleaders of the so-called heroin trafficking group Bali Nine, were due to face a firing squad before the end of February after they were denied presidential pardons.
Their lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis said their “last chance” was to challenge president Joko Widodo’s decision in an administrative court — a move that had rarely been attempted.
“We have done almost everything and now we are planning to file another claim to the administrative court in Jakarta,” Mr Mulya said. “We will challenge the rejection of the clemency issued by the president, or made by the president.”
Chan and Sukumaran had argued, as they had to the Indonesian Supreme Court, that they were remorseful and rehabilitated.
They had both used their active involvement in rehab programs to help other prisoners as reasons why they should be pardoned from the death penalty.
But President Widodo had declared Indonesia in a state of “drug emergency” and vowed not to grant clemency to any drug offenders.
It was on that basis that Mr Mulya and his team of lawyers were hoping to challenge the president’s decision, saying that he had to actually consider each case.
“It’s not the way to do it,” Mr Mulya said of the president’s outright rejection of clemency bids. “We don’t think the president can reject all the clemency petitions based only on drug emergency situations. The president must go into [them] one by one. Now an assessment has to be done. You cannot just read that on papers and make a rejection, a refusal. It’s not the way to do it, because we are talking about human life, human beings. So we should not treat the petitioners as numbers… treat them as human beings.”
An administrative appeal of this kind was thought to have been attempted only once before, and failed.
In a 2008 court case, Mr Mulya challenged the constitutionality of the death sentence but the court upheld the death sentence as valid.
But he said he would not give up on trying.
“Indonesia is a state based on law, and we also ratified a lot of international human rights instruments. It means that we respect human rights. One of the basic fundamental human rights is the right to life, so when we are dealing with clemency… the president should take into account the life of the petitioners.”
Running Out of Time
Mr Mulya conceded that there was not a lot of time left to save Chan and Sukumaran from the firing squad.
“I can say we are running out of time,” Mr Mulya said. “There’s not much time left. Well I know that every legal means has been exhausted. We have done almost everything to save their life and this is the last chance. I hope there’s a miracle, I hope there’s a hand of God, at this time. But what I can do is to keep praying.”
Indonesia’s attorney-general’s office was in charge of scheduling and coordinating executions and announcing where and when they would take place.
Attorney-general Muhammad Presetyo has already stated that the legal process is over and the government was preparing to execute the Australians in the next round of shootings, which were due to happen sometime this month.
“I keep my fingers crossed, I hope they will change their mind,” Mr Mulya said.
He said the attorney-general should not go ahead with the executions while there was an administrative challenge in progress.
“Because they have to respect the law, they have to respect the due process of law,” Mr Mulya said.
The families of the two men were travelling to Jakarta today to meet with Indonesia’s National Committee on Human Rights, or KOMNAS HAM, in another push to get a stay on the executions.
Sydney Archbishop and Grand Mufti Plead For Clemency
Updated 7 Feb 2015 :: Two of the nation’s most senior religious leaders have pleaded for clemency for two Australians on death row in Bali.
As the pair face imminent execution in Indonesia over their involvement in the so-called Bali Nine heroin trafficking attempt in 2005, Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher and Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammad urged Indonesian president Joko Widodo to save the men and grant them an opportunity to “make reparation to the communities they betrayed by their crimes”.
“Our request today is for clemency or a commuted sentence for Andrew and Myuran so as to allow them to be further rehabilitated,” the pair said in a joint media conference. “To execute would prematurely end these lives, robbing both of them and our communities of the opportunity for ongoing repentance and rehabilitation.”
The Indonesian foreign affairs ministry confirmed to the Australian embassy in Jakarta on Friday that the pair were due to face the firing squad this month.
Archbishop Fisher said he hoped their joint plea would be heard by the government of Indonesia.
“Both our communities, making this plea together with the government and others from around the world and certainly the families, it’s more likely to be heard by the Indonesian people and the government than if just one of us made the statement,” Archbishop Fisher said.
The Grand Mufti said he was considering travelling to Indonesia to meet with religious leaders to discuss the fate of the inmates.
“By all accounts Andrew and Myuran have come to appreciate clearly the gravity of their crimes,” Dr Mohammad said. “These Sydney-born men have had a long time to think about what they have done while in Kerobokan prison and on death row.”
The plea comes after Indonesia’s ambassador played down hopes of a new appeal for Chan and Sukumaran.
Nadjib Riphat Kesoema said the pair’s legal fight had reached “the highest level”.
“Indonesia has notified the government of Australia that we will execute these two gentlemen,” Mr Kesoema said.
Triple J Defends Publishing Death Penalty Poll
Updated 6 Feb 2015 :: ABC’s triple j radio station has launched a spirited defence of its decision to publish opinion polling about the death penalty, after a supporter of two Australians on death row in Indonesia said the station should be held partly responsible if the pair is executed.
Supporters of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran said their bid for clemency was stymied in part by a poll which showed a slim majority of Australians supported the death penalty.
The SMS poll of 2,123 people was conducted by Roy Morgan Research over the Australia Day weekend. Triple j suggested questions for the poll and the results were published by the station’s Hack program on January 27.
It showed 52 per cent of people agreed that Australians convicted of drug trafficking in another country and sentenced to death should be executed.
Since it was published, the courts have denied a last-ditch appeal by the drug smugglers and authorities in Indonesia are now making plans to execute the pair.
But on Thursday the men wrote another letter begging the Indonesian government to spare their lives.
Both Indonesia’s ambassador to Canberra, Nadjib Rifat Kesuma, and attorney-general Muhammad Prasetyo have referred to the poll’s findings as proof many Australians support the judicial killing of the two men.
In a statement read out on Hack this afternoon, presenter Tom Tilley said: “It would be a dangerous precedent for journalists not to report these things because they are fearful of how politicians may react.”
Tilley said he and all staff on the Hack team held the deepest sympathies for Chan and Sukumaran and their families. He said it was not uncommon for media outlets to legitimately use polling in reporting everyday stories.
The news that Chan and Sukumaran will be among the next group to face execution has devastated their supporters.
“The boys have really turned their lives into very constructive lives for other prisoners so the families are very proud of them,” the pair’s Australian lawyer Julian McMahon said. “And there’s a lot of closeness there but from my observation what’ll be happening now is that the two clients will be looking after their families, who will be shattered.”
Greg Craven, vice-chancellor of the Australian Catholic University and a supporter of the Mercy campaign that was set up to call for clemency for the two Australians, was angry the triple j poll was published.
“If these two men really are executed then the radio station that commissioned the poll, the people who delivered that poll, and the people who answered that poll in the affirmative will know that they have had a part, no matter how small, in the death of two other people,” Professor Craven said.
Poll should have asked real question, not theoretical one: Craven
Professor Craven said the pollsters and the radio station had given ammunition to the Indonesian authorities and it had asked the wrong question.
“It asked a theoretical question which is ‘are you in favour of people being executed if they breach foreign law?’
“The real question is, ‘are you in favour of the two reformed Australians Andrew and Myuran having their heads blown off or their hearts blown out for smuggling drugs, for which they would have gone to jail in most other countries?'” Professor Craven said.
Roy Morgan Research chief executive Michele Levine said the polling company always sought to accurately reflect what the Australian public thought.
“The impact of the truth must be what it is,” Ms Levine said.
Ms Levine said the company had asked the same question for more than 30 years.
“Pretty much always Australians have been strongly of the view that if an Australian is convicted of drug trafficking in a country where that crime attracts the death penalty, that the death penalty should be carried out,” Ms Levine said. “In the ’80s, it was as high as 80 per cent of people felt that way. The issue’s been softening so when we surveyed it just recently, the electorate had softened a lot, but we still found a majority, 53 per cent of people, were of the opinion that the penalty should be carried out.”
At the time of the report, Hack referred to the poll as “an exclusive Roy Morgan poll for Hack”, but this afternoon Tilley clarified by saying triple j approached Roy Morgan suggesting they conduct the poll at that time.
Professor Craven hopes to prove the poll wrong, and has urged all Australians to keep pleading with the Indonesian authorities to show mercy towards the two Australians.
“There could be an act of spontaneous clemency — they could be reprieved, for example. As long as these men are alive, there is hope they will stay alive,” Professor Craven said.
Joko Widodo Rules Out ‘Relief’
Updated 28 Jan 2015 :: Indonesian president Joko Widodo has declared he will not be pressured to issue a last-minute reprieve for two Bali Nine drug traffickers on death row. Indonesian lawyers were hoping for a judicial review but President Widodo told CNN nothing would change his hardline stance against drug dealers.
“Imagine every day we have 50 people die because of narcotics, in one year it’s 18,000 people because of narcotics,” President Widod said. “We are not going to compromise for drug dealers. No compromise, no compromise. The decision of death penalty is on the court. But they can ask for amnesty to the president but I tell you there will be no amnesty for drug dealers.”
Mr Widodo was asked: “So no relief for the Australians?”
He responded by shaking his head.
In April 2005, Chan and Sukumaran, with seven others, tried to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin out of Bali but were intercepted by Indonesian police via a tipoff from Australian Federal Police.
Technically the men have exhausted their legal avenues for appeal and have already had one judicial review at the Supreme Court level. However, lawyers for the men are making a last-ditch attempt for judicial review of the decision which could see them before the firing squad in a matter of days or weeks.
The six people put to death in Indonesia on January 18 were denied clemency just a month earlier and given three days’ notice of their execution.
‘As long as there’s life, there’s hope’
Indonesia expert Greg Barton from Monash University said there was a small chance that Mr Widodo could bow to pressure to spare the men.
“I think as long as there’s life, there’s hope,” Professor Barton said. “If there is time I do believe this president, like his predecessor, may walk back from this because the Indonesian diplomatic community, the larger government, recognise its best interests are served by at least not enforcing if not renouncing capital punishment. The ball is in the president’s court. He could say ‘I think in this particular case there’s grounds for mercy because of the changed behaviour and changed outlook and time served’.”
Professor Barton said commuting the death sentences to life in prison “would be the sensible thing to ask for”.
On Friday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a public appeal on behalf of the convicted men.
In a statement, Mr Abbott said Chan and Sukumaran “deserve mercy”, and described them as “reformed characters” who had helped to rehabilitate other prisoners.
The Prime Minister’s statement did not detail whether or not he had spoken to Mr Widodo personally about the matter.
However Mr Abbott said he and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop were maintaining “every possible effort” to prevent Sukumaran and Chan being executed.
Updated 23 Jan 2015 :: Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the Government is continuing to plead with Indonesia to spare the lives of Bali Nine drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Both men have now had their appeals for presidential clemency formally rejected and face execution by firing squad.
In a statement, Mr Abbott said Chan and Sukumaran “deserve mercy”, and described them as “reformed characters” who had helped to rehabilitate other prisoners.
The Prime Minister’s statement did not detail whether or not he had spoken to Indonesian president Joko Widodo personally about the matter, but said he and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop were maintaining “every possible effort” to prevent Sukumaran and Chan being executed.
Mr Abbott said he spoke to the families of both men today and would continue to offer them the Government’s support.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said his thoughts were also with the families of the two men.
Mr Shorten said he had been briefed on the situation and was satisfied the Government was doing “everything it can”.
RELATED! Police shoot dead knife-wielding woman outside Hungry Jack’s in Sydney’s West Hoxton
A woman armed with a knife has been shot dead by police officers after she lunged at them outside a fast food outlet in Sydney’s south-west.
The shooting took place just before midday outside the car park of Hungry Jack’s on the corner of Hoxton Park Road and Cowpasture Road in West Hoxton
Police said officers used capsicum spray to try and subdue the woman before firing one shot, which hit the 22-year-old woman in the chest.
Officers carried out CPR on the woman but she died shortly afterward.
NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Frank Mennilli said the critical incident team would now investigate the decision to shoot by officers.
“A number of tactical things were used [in the incident]. I was informed capsicum spray was utilised,” Commissioner Mennilli said.
Witnesses reported hearing two shots fired, but Commissioner Mennilli said information supplied to him suggested just one shot was fired at the woman and it was fatal.
“The officers are distraught. This is a tragic situation,” Commissioner Mennilli said, adding that police were still trying to contact the woman’s family.
Local resident Alan Sobbi said he saw the incident from the balcony of his home.
“We saw two police officers talking to a woman, yelling, and then she approached them with something and we heard bang bang,” Mr Sobbi said. “After that police came from all over the place and we didn’t know the woman was shot dead until later. So we heard the shots and saw her attacking the police. She moved forward to the police. I couldn’t see if she had anything in her hand or not, but she was moving towards the police.
“When we heard the gunshots we thought, ‘is this a movie?’ “We never thought someone was going to get shot.”
The critical incident team investigating the shooting will comprise members of the State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad and investigators from South West Metropolitan Region. The investigation will be overseen by the Professional Standards Command.
REBLOG! Shoot to kill: the use of lethal force by police in Australia
Over the weekend, Queensland police shot and killed a 51-year-old man who was allegedly armed with a knife. On Monday night, another man was shot and killed on the Gold Coast. It was the sixth Queensland police shooting in 2014 and the fourth fatal shooting in a matter of months.
These incidents have again placed the use of lethal force by police in the spotlight. How prevalent is the use of lethal force by police in Australia? Is a disturbing trend developing in Queensland? Can we learn lessons from overseas that will avoid situations that result in deaths?
Queensland police are not the first in Australia to come under scrutiny for their use of firearms and lethal force. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Victorian police were heavily criticised for the number of fatal shootings they engaged in. The recent ABC documentary Trigger Point focuses on the period in Victoria in which police killed 30 people and two police officers were executed in retaliation :: Read the full article »»»»
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