The death sentence of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan is something I have kept quite about on this blog, but not in real life. With the executions looking to take place in the early hours of tomorrow morning I feel like it’s time to write something. To share my opinion on something that has divided our country and to say why I stand for Mercy..
We all remember the day when the Bali 9 were arrested at the airport in Bali, with heroin strapped to their bodies. “How can they have been so stupid?” we all asked each other. After all- it was just after the all consuming case of Schapelle Corby, if you didn’t know what happened to drug smugglers in Bali before that case you sure as hell did now. Who would take the risk? We saw them sentenced to various time in jail, and we heard that some had been given the death sentence. And then we looked away- for 10 years. We knew about them but they never got the coverage Schapelle did and we began to forget about them- until we discovered they were actually going to kill them, because we never thought they would. Surely the death penalty was just a term worse than life? They weren’t actually going to kill them were they?
Since the new Indonesian President Joko Widodo refused their clemency and showed the world that he was prepared to execute everyone on death row I have become obsessed with this story- I read everything I can get my hands on and I also read the comments from people who are willing to watch them die- some who even seem gleeful about their death- like its a spectator sport. I’ve read all the justifications people have for killing them- so this is what I have to say in reply…
For those that say “Who are we to judge another country’s laws?” I say that we judge other countries all the time for poor human rights. When they kill women for being raped, when they execute people based on religious belief and many more.
For those that say, “They knew the law so they deserve it.” People break laws all the time. Do people deserve to die if they do drugs? After all- doing drugs is just as illegal as selling them. I know they did the wrong thing but I believe they are a testament to the power of rehabilitation and Indonesia should be proud of how they have turned out and take it as a win- rather than undoing all that work by killing them.
To those of you yelling “kill them- it’s about time,” do you really know what you are saying? Can you sit there and look beside you at your child, your husband, your brother and really believe that there is anything in the world that they could do to make you think they should be killed? These men will die and left behind will be their families, ruined for something they didn’t do. Dead is dead- there is no coming back from that. This isn’t an episode of Law and Order, where we can wrap it up in a tidy hour and move on.
“What about the drug addicts?!!” Some of you say. People choose to take drugs. Drug dealers aren’t walking around forcibly injecting them. Yes drugs ruin lives, and yes I’ve know drug addicts, but it’s supply and demand. The people who believe that drug addicts are the scourge of society are calling for death on their behalf.
The way I see it is that they are worth more alive than dead. I believe they are fully rehabilitated and could make a bigger impact alive, educating people, than dead. I don’t believe in the death penalty for anyone.
A lot of us didn’t pay much attention to Van Nguyen’s execution in Singapore in 2005 for the same crime- after all, the internet wasn’t what it is today and it was harder to raise national support and awareness. It was only ten years ago and I only knew about it when I saw the amazing telemovie ‘Better Man‘. This time around I don’t think there is a single person in Australia over the age of 10 that doesn’t know what is about to happen- so why are we letting it?