This issue has been really getting to me recently, so here I am putting my 2000 rupiahs in.
First let me say that the Bali bomb was a terrible tragedy, terribly sad, cruel, unfair and unjust what happened to the 88 (or there abouts) Australians killed, the countless more Indonesians who died, and all their friends and families. The perpetrators should certainly be brought to justice. (Of course, same goes for the second Bali bombing)
But the key here is “justice”. It’s funny how so many Australians were concerned with whether or not Schapelle received a fair trial, whether or not her guilt was proven beyond reasonable doubt, but no one seems to care whether or not the accused Bali bombers had a fair trial or not, all they seem to care about is that they are punished severely enough.
I’ve heard a number of comments in the media recently along the lines of “they need to hurry up and execute them. It will be an embarrassment to Indonesia if they don’t execute them soon”. Developing countries can’t win can they; one day they’re a disgrace to the international community because they’re executing people, the next day they’re an embarrassment because they’re not executing people.
We need to be principled, and consistent.
There are many good, rational, and reasonable justifications for capital punishment. Keeping people locked up is a burden on tax payers money, money that could otherwise be spent on helping the innocent and the poor, for example. If faced with 20 years + in a ridiculously hot, stuffy, stinky, disease-ridden Indonesian prison, with open drain toilets and high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, with I can’t even imagine what kind of food, I might very well prefer death.
Despite this, I don’t believe in capital punishment. I don’t think it’s right to make killing illegal, and then kill people ourselves if they break the law. And just think of the consequences if we get the wrong person.
However, whether you are pro or anti capital punishment, I think we need to be consistent. If you would not support capital punishment in your own country, your own state, then don’t support it in other people’s country.
Before you wish capital punishment on others, think about it if it was your children, your parents, or your friend who was facing that sentence. Surely life in prison is bad enough?
As I believe most people would be against capital punishment in Australia, it shocks and angers me to hear people demanding Indonesia executes the Bali bombers. I think we should be demanding Indonesia abolishes capital punishment altogether, rather than demanding they implement it.
So please, unless you would be happy to see capital punishment make a come back in Australia, don’t demand the Bali bombers’ execution! Be consistent with your principles and demand that the Bali bombers, what ever their crimes, are not killed by their government.