Death of Bali Bombers Likely to Precipitate More Executions, Including those of Three Members of the ‘Bali Nine.’
A Junior Chief State Prosecutor, Abdul Hakim Ritonga, told the press in Jakarta said that orders have been issued to create a formal list of all those on death row, a list that is expected to be in hand before the end of the current year.
If current legal appeals before the court fail for the three members of the “Bali Nine” now under a sentence of death, their final resort will be an appeal for clemency from Indonesia’s President who has gone on record as saying he will show no mercy to those convicted of narcotics crimes.
“Once clemency is refused, we will pay no heed to pleads from the Australian government for the death penalty to be abolished in Indonesia,” explained Ritonga.
The Indonesian Supreme Court has already refused one appeal from the members of the “Bali Nine” facing execution – Andrew Chan (24), Myuran Sukumaran (27) and Scott Rush (22). Convicted and condemned for their role in an attempt to smuggle 8.2 kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia in 2005 the three men are now involved in another appeal, seeking to overturn their death sentence.
The three men are seeking to duplicate the success of three of their colleagues – Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen who successfully fought before the courts to reduce their death sentence to life imprisonment in a decision by the courts in March 2008.
Ritonga said the latest data shows that there are currently 44 people on death row awaiting a reply from the President for their requests for clemency; 38 people on death row who are in the appeal process; and 33 other death-row inmates who have yet to seek an appeal. If the 33 cases not under appeal do not seek a higher court review before the end of the year, the Chief Prosecutors office will then make a further determination on the status of their pending death sentences.
Casting a further shadow over the fate of the three men, Ritonga said: “The three death-row inmates form the ‘Bali Nine’ are a part of the 92 people now awaiting execution. They are among the 38 prisoners whose cases are under legal review. However, such appeals in narcotic cases are seldom successful. So, we’ll have to see what develops.”
An Opportunity Lost?
Although Australia formally abolished the death sentence in 1973, two successive Australian governments refused to make a formal appeal for the commutation of the death sentence of the now-executed Bali Bombers, men found guilty in the death of 88 Australian citizens in 2002.
Many local observers conclude that Australia’s silence via its failure to adopt a consistent stand against the death penalty will automatically brand as “disingenuous” any 11th hour humanitarian appeal to spare the lives of the 3 Australian men now awaiting a final rendezvous with an Indonesian firing squad.
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