Thursday, 30 September 2010

Indonesian Cruelty

Indonesian prosecutors in the Scott Rush case have finally gone too far. Their fanatical insistence on sending Scott Rush to his death, is so inhumane, so completely unreasonable and so cruel that I am almost lost for words. 

Barbarism (noun)
-absence of culture and civilisation : the collapse of civilisation and the return to barbarism.
-extreme cruelty or brutality

I have to keep reminding myself that this is Indonesia - the most corrupt, hypocritical, inhumane and sometimes despicable country on this planet. Why would I expect anything else from a country that overlooks home grown terrorists but are willing to murder foreigners for being drug mules. I should accept that Scott Rush and the Bali Nine will receive no justice in Indonesia but like most people with a heartbeat, I find it so damn difficult to stay quiet. The sheer arrogance of the prosecutors and their relentless desire to snuff out Scott’s short life is bordering on barbarism. 

If we held a vote of the Indonesian people, especially Balinese society, and asked is it fair for organised transnational narcotic criminals to be (sentenced to death) we are certain the community will have the opinion that the death penalty is very suitable to be imposed and is just.
--Ida Bagus Argita Chandra: Indonesian Prosecutor

I’m sorry Mr. Chandra but sentencing an Australian to death that would normally invoke a 1-5 year jail term locally, will not attract a lot of tourists. Especially when your country is notorious for luring tourists to buy drugs by the police and then bang them up for a bribe … or face decades in prison or even a possible death sentence. Tourists are nervous enough about possible terrorists attacks let alone being wrongfully arrested for drug offences. I see that some terrorists who commit mass murder are treated better by authorities than naive kids who are coerced into smuggling drugs. How can any rational person compare terrorism/mass murder with being a drug mule?

And then there’s this from another prosecutor:

...drug smuggling was a serious threat to the island’s image as a tourist destination and harsh punishments in drug cases would deter future offences
--Purwanti Murtiasih: Indonesian Prosecutor

Oh, the deterrence myth. If the prosecutors would spend an hour or so doing their research, they would discover that harsh penalties do not deter desperate addicts or petty criminals from the easy money involved in the drug trade. Sentencing people to death for drug offences puts countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia etc. out of line with civilised nations. The treat of being shot by a firing squad simply increases the stakes and the violence associated with the drug trade. It also forces the drug king pins to distance themselves from any punishment by using desperate couriers.

Like most drug policies, it’s the poor, desperate, marginalised and minority groups who end up in prison or facing a death sentence. Rarely do the rich drug lords face the courts or some sort of judicial punishment. The massive profits from the drug trade allow those at the top to distance themselves from most policing with bribes being a key ingredient. When you add in the rampant corruption in Indonesia, the chances of catching these criminals becomes even more remote. Where are the suppliers of the Bali Nine’s heroin haul? Why haven’t we seen the upper management of this drug ring in court? Why are we left with just the pawns who played such a minor role?

The bad smell leftover from the Schapelle Corby fiasco and the exposure by Rob McJannett on the inbuilt judicial corruption raises some concern at the prosecutor’s enthusiasm. What drives them to be so gung-ho in their bid to end Scott’s life? With a delicate Australia-Indonesian relationship and the recent criticism over Australian forces training the controversial Kopassus special unit, you would think Indonesia had more pressing issues to deal with. Putting up flimsy arguments like tourism and minor technicalities about whether a letter had been previously used is bizarre considering it’s someone’s life at stake. 

I feel for Scott’s parents who must be so utterly fed-up with the whole situation. I can only imagine their hate for a bunch of over zealous prosecutors who are pushing for the murder of their son. It certainly gives a new meaning to feeling helpless. What drives some people like the prosecutors to want the death of someone they don’t even know? Where’s the compassion? Where’s the humanity? Not in Indonesia … that’s for sure!

Prosecutors Say Death a Fair Sentence for Bali Nine Member
By Made Arya Kencana
September 2010

Denpasar. Prosecutors said on Monday that Australian Scott Anthony Rush did not deserve leniency after being found guilty of attempting to smuggle 8.2 kilograms of heroin out of Bali in 2005. 

In an appeal hearing, prosecutors dismissed arguments by the Australian Federal Police that Rush played a minor role in the smuggling attempt and did not deserve to be sentenced to death. 

“No matter how small the role of the convict, it supported the success of the syndicate, so the capacity is the same,” said prosecutor Purwanti Murtiasih. 

He added that drug smuggling was a serious threat to the island’s image as a tourist destination and harsh punishments in drug cases would deter future offenses. 

Rush was a member of the so-called Bali Nine caught attempting to smuggle heroin from Bali to Australia in 2005. His was originally sentenced to life in prison, but received the death penalty after appealing to a higher court. 

Mick Keelty, a former Australian Federal Police commissioner, and Mike Phelan, the AFP’s current deputy commissioner, appeared on Rush’s behalf at the Bali court earlier this month. 

Keelty said Rush was not a leader of the plot and did not deserve the death sentence. 

Phelan noted that it was Rush’s first drug offense and he would have faced “less than 10 years” if convicted in Australia, which does not have the death penalty. 

Prosecutors also rejected the argument of Rush’s lawyer that the death penalty had been abolished in many countries. 

Purwanti said that as long as Indonesia still had capital punishment, prosecutors would seek it for major cases. 

“As to the idea that the death sentence should be applied selectively to certain cases, we believe the convict’s violation meets the requirements for the death sentence because he was proven to have smuggled drugs in an organized way that is considered an intercountry crime,” he said. 

The court is scheduled to decide on Oct. 4 whether Rush’s death sentence will be reviewed. 

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Don said...

Good article Terry.
It's an absolute disgrace that the prosecutors are pushing for the death penalty for a young boy that was nothing more than a mule that played a minor role in this case. Remember also, that the original prosecutors never demanded the death sentence in the first place, they asked for life!

Also, I seen somewhere that the prosecutors stated that they don't differentiate, when it comes to sentencing for drug crimes!! Well, what hypocrites they are!! If that were the case, then Renae Lawrence and the others would have been dealt the same sentence as Scott!!

And then with the Schapelle Corby fiasco!! No one takes mj to Bali to sell..period!! I have no doubt in my mind that the Bali police planted the drugs, and the Australian government knew it!! Why else would the AFP decide not to investigate this in Australia, to track down anyone else that might be involved??

Why else, would the Bali police try and urge Schapelle to handle the plastic bag to get her finger prints on it, when, if they thought she were guilty, they would assume her prints were already there anyway!!

Why else would they refuse Schapelle's plea to test the drugs for origin, if they believed they came from Australia?? And the list goes on.

Let's hope the Supreme Court judges show better judgement when considering both Scott's and Schapelle's clemency bids, after all, when you consider that out of the 70 odd people arrested and gaoled for their roles in the Bali bombings, about 55 have been released and are now free!!

Anonymous said...

Why did Australian police allow it to happen? "Serve & Protect" just as long if it doesn't impact on our international relations and you are a small player in the drug trade.

It is a disgrace. I can't help thinking that we got Hicks home, so why are more people not kicking up a fuss about this?

Anonymous said...

Yeah - improve tourism by shooting dead some of our citizens. I bet this will encourage heaps of Aussies to holiday in Bali.

Sounds like the prosecutors are on drugs!!