Bali Bombers, Life or Death?

There’s speculation that the Bali Bombers may have their death sentences enacted as early as this weekend.

Former PM John Howard and former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer were outspoken in their support of the death sentence for the Bali bombers, yet on the other hand were vocal in stating that “Australia opposes the Death Sentence” when it came to commenting on the predicament of the Bali Nine, some of whom are also facing the death penalty.

While I can understand the anger that many Australians feel towards the Bali Bombers, are the lives of those lost, including Australians, due to the heroin trade any less important than those who suffered at the hands of the Bali bombers?

Surely, when it comes to the Death Penalty, one is either for it or against it.

If we are to say, as would be the position of Howard and Downer, that it depends on ‘circumstances’ are we really just disguising the fact that what we’re really saying is that the death penalty is okay, except for Australians?



62 Responses

  1. Against it; no exceptions.

    I’m disappointed with the silence of the government although I realise the sensitivity of the situation in regard to the victims’ relatives.

    Wait for the hypocrisy should any Aussies in Indonesia face the same penalty soon.

    Some interesting reading as suggested by a letter writer in today’s SMH:

    The Seven who were Hanged, by Leonid Andreyev”>

  2. Hypocritical – of course it is. But then again, they were politicians, it goes with the territory. On the one hand they were pandering to our outrage at being attacked and on the other they were pandering to our “us vs them” in saving some (stupid) Aussie hicks from the “evils of foreign law”.

    Personally, I’m against it (the death penalty) in all circumstances. I have been involved personally in something where I didn’t want to believe that (I truly wanted the bastard to die for what he had done), but was sane enough to realize when emotional irrationality had taken control. I still want the bastard to die, but it would be vengeance, not justice.


  3. Against it, no exceptions. State sanctioned murder is still murder.

    The hypocrisy of the current and previous Federal governments is appalling. We ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aimed at the abolition of the death penalty, on the 11th July 1991.

    Therefore – we should (at a federal level) always be against the death penalty.

    And I do understand why those directly affected by the crimes committed wish for the death penalty.

  4. Life, no exceptions.

    I’ll try to chase up the title of a book (the author has written several on this subject) which clearly demonstrates a death penalty fails on every aim those who utilise it say its purpose is.

    The author was on LNL quite a while back and I might have downloaded the episode via podcast.

  5. I’m against it also.

    However I would like to see some good old fashioned humiliation. Like put them in stocks every day for the rest of their lives and allow the general public to throw rotten vegetables at them and pee on them n stuff.

    A constant reminder that they are not worthy of death.

  6. Adrian,

    One of the best essays I’ve ever read on CP was Albert Camus’ “Reflections on the Guillotine”.

    I gave away the book (The Evergreen Review Reader) I once owned, in which I read the essay, to my everlasting regret.

  7. “Revenge is sweet” is the truncated quote. I think it goes on to say “so say fools” or somesuch.

    I find the death penalty, with its contrived and goulish theatre, utterly abhorent.

    But I’ve come to accept that there are some who need blood to be spilt before they “find closure”, whatever that means.

    They then become victims a second time.

  8. Another good place to get a second hand experience of the wrongfulness of the death penalty from someone who has been very close to it is to read Sister Helen Prejean books or have a look at her website .

    She’s been on Enough Rope with Andrew Denton.

    As soon as I remember who this other author was or find the podcast I’ll link it. His were the best arguments against capital punishment using the history of the death sentence going back to the year dot I’ve heard.

  9. Mangrove,

    I don’t think there’s any such thing as “closure”.

    It’s a term coined by pyschologists in recent years to suggest that life is like a series of chapters.

    It’s an overused and ultimately useless and irrelevant term in the face of real life experience and trauma.

  10. Here is what the boyf wrote on this issue back in August.

    This is the exactly the type of double-standard or double-speak that Asian states (which still practise the death penalty) have been accusing Australia of. During his campaign, Kevin Rudd said he was ‘opposed to the death penalty’ but that the government would only intervene diplomatically ‘in support of Australian nationals who face capital sentences abroad’.

    Interpretation: Australian lives are of more value than others. Terrorists deserve the death penalty.

  11. If it was my family – I’d gladly pull the trigger!

  12. But then TB – does that not make you a murderer too?

  13. With sentencing the bali bombers to the death penalty, are you not giving them exactly what they want anyway.

    Their chance to be with the 99 million virgins and bing martyrs to their”cause”?

    Would it not be more fiiting to let them serve life sentences in prison no parole jail until the day they die naturally, thus robbng them of what hey believe is waiting for them at the other end, jannat as they call it?

  14. …and TB what does it do for you?

    Research has shown that the victim’s family and friends very rarely get closure from perpetrators being killed. There is no satisfaction or feeling of revenge, no relief and no putting the whole thing behind them.

    In many cases the opposite is the case. The death of the perpetrator makes them feel worse, another life lost in an already tragic situation, guilt for wanting the perpetrator dead and then realising how horrible that death was, and a slew of other negative emotional and psychological problems.

    The death penalty in its entire history has never lessened the occurrence of the crimes it is a punishment for so it can’t be a deterrent. In some cases the putting to death of a person as punishment has caused revolutions and wars so causing lots more death. In other cases the execution has made martyrs, which is the likely outcome of the Bali Bombers, which have caused more deaths. If you are religious, then Jesus was legally sentenced to death under the laws of the time and his execution has caused more death and destruction throughout the world than any other single factor.

    The author of the book I’m trying to chase up contends there is only one reason for the death penalty, and that reason is purely political. There are absolutely no moral or crime prevention reasons for it, not a single one of them stacks up against the historical facts. The US states with the death sentence and the most executions per capita do not have the lowest number of murders and crime. The same goes for countries.

  15. [quote]”As revealed in the Herald, the Bali bombers have received several offers from wealthy backers to bury them together in a special jihadi cemetery. The idea is that “pilgrims” can pay their respects to the “holy warriors”.

    A shrine would not only be deeply offensive to most Indonesians, it would be a magnet for extremists. But the Attorney-General’s spokesman, Jasman Panjaitan, said it was up to the families where they wanted to bury the bodies.”

    Perhaps these executions will create even more ‘martyrs’.

  16. Adrain @14.

    That’s my feeling also.

  17. I am agnostic – I do not believe in heaven, nor hell – but I do believe in being responsible and accountable for one’s actions.

    People in the world particularly our’s, have lost the ability to be responsible – its always someone elses fault…

    I would gladly pull the trigger – with one reservation, I would have to be 110% absolutely convinced that the killer had taken the life of one of my own.

    If someone deliberately murders innocent people – they will do it again given the opportunity. People who murder innocents are not filled with your compassion – never will be…could never understand it…

    …and Adrian, you know what I think of “scientific” research – especially when dealing with human emotions!

  18. I would have to be 110% absolutely convinced that the killer had taken the life

    And that’s the one thing that can never be guaranteed; look how many prisoners are being released due to new DNA techniques. Could never happen if they had been executed.

    Even people who admit to crimes can be innocent and are doing so from a suicide wish

  19. Whose talking about compassion for criminals who commit a capital crime, certainly I have none? In many cases I think its more compassionate to execute them.

    A plausible hypothetical for you TB on a scenario that has happened on more than one occasion in the past.

    You gladly pull the trigger on a person who with no doubt whatsoever killed someone you loved. We’ll leave what you would personally get out of doing this aside and having an understanding judiciary you will not be overly punished for carrying out the personal execution.

    But he has family and friends and no amount of convincing will make them believe their own deserved to die at your hands. So for the same dubious similar emotional reasoning as you, whatever that is, satisfaction, feeling of justice, revenge, etc, someone on that side pulls the trigger on you.

    So where does it end, certainly not with the death of perpetrator, and it rarely does.

  20. Trust old mealy-mouthed Howard to walk both sides of the fence of a black-or-white issue.

  21. Caney

    Not just the FMFB – but the current government too!

  22. Former PM John Howard and former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer . . .

    After almost 12 months that still sound good to me.

  23. Joni

    It feels more satisfying when I say it about Howard.

  24. Every nation has its punishment for crimes perpetuated and if one breaks a law they should expect the penalty.

    The Bali nine knew the risk when they attempted to smuggle kilos of heroin to this country so I have no sympathy…what I do object to is Keelty informing the Indonesian police instead of intercepting them at Australian customs gates…he might as well pull the trigger himself the scumbag!!!

    I won’t get into this execute or not thing because we have no right to interfere with another nations laws as they have no right to interfere with our laws.

  25. I would, without qualm or regret, put a bullet into someone who killed or otherwise “assaulted” (I’m sure we know what I mean by that) my family. The difference I have is that I know what I’d be seeking there is not justice in any fashion. It’d be a combination of vengeance and a “my family is off limits, see” message.

    I recognize the difference between being the protector of my family and being a representative of society as a whole. Society as a whole should not have an “eye for an eye” mentality. Neither for that fact should I, but at least I recognize such.


  26. scaper

    Very true re keelty

    And on the interference – that is completely true too, but we should remain consistent with out stance (the government), either the death penalty is wrong in all cases or we should not interfere when it affects an Australian.

    As you know – my personal belief is that we should apply pressure in all cases.

    Such as the case of Nemat Safavi – who was arrested three years ago in Iran and is sentenced to death for being gay. He was 16 when he was arrested.

  27. joni

    The case of Nemat Safavi is a completely different scenario compared to the nature of this thread because in my mind he did not commit a crime that should merit death…in fact there was no crime in my eyes.

    Iran is also not a democracy…I believe it is a theorocracy based on the interpretation of the Koran.

    Indonesia will in time amend these laws through the process of governance…it just might take a few decades, that is if they do not convert to a model similar to Iran…going soft on terrorists is not an option for them in my opinion.

  28. Oh sure scaper – I realise that they are very very different cases. But my stance is that it is always wrong.

    And I am now very scared to use commas in posts after peoples names. Very very scared.

  29. joni,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    That’s fair enough and I don’t really care if those people are executed or not…their cause is getting publicity and I expect that is to their delight.

  30. LOL scaper

  31. joni,

    I was educated to a point at Cranbrook and our radical english master always encouraged us to write in the format that we are comfortable with, not to follow the regimented format and the importance was to get the message across.

    I will always continue to punctuate as I see fit and that goes for all correspondence!

  32. Cool bananas… I will use commas as I see fit and will hide behind you when Min (,) starts her kitchen marches.

  33. Oh dear..joni are you trying to tell me something re the comma with brackets???

    I’m game if you are ;-))))

  34. run away run away….. (as joni heads into the distance)

  35. And apologies re the previous comment..the devil made me do it.

    Back on topic. I am against capital punishment in all circumstances.

    Just going from memory (as all of my law notes are’s moving weekend next week). There are 3 reasons for the death penalty.

    Saving Society from further crime

    As a quick precis, it is not a deterrent as evidenced by the states of USA where the Death Penalty is a 1st option. These states have the highest rates of death by murder.

    Revenge: understandable for relatives of murdered loved ones. But is the death penalty always the sweetest form of revenge – especially given that the perpertrators believe that they as ‘martyrs’ are going to heaven to be greeted by umpteen angels. For example, when the Bali murderers face the firing squad should they be smiling sweetly thinking of the several delights that await them in heaven? If this is their belief, then due to their crime they should rot in prison and be denied the status of ‘martyr’.

    And #3 is saving society from further crimes. Given the above status of ‘martyr’ the death penalty is likely to encourage further crimes rather than act as a deterrent. And this is something that Western societies have had difficulties understanding.

    Conclusion: terrorists who are proven murderers should never be executed but rather left to drift off into obscurity thereby denying them the notoriety that they were craving.

  36. Brief addendum. Speaking as a Godling, when these blokes reach their final reward they’re going to get one hell of a to speak.

  37. “I was educated to a point at Cranbrook..”

    Tiddly winks young man
    Get a woman if you can
    If you can’t get a woman
    Get a Cranbrook man!

    Sorry about that Scaper. I was educated ‘up the road’ from you and that song popped into my head as soon as I saw Cranbrook, and after more than forty years since I last heard it.

  38. Scots College?

  39. Yes, ‘fraid so, Scaper. A hotbed of homosexuality (at least for me) and I loved it. 😉

  40. I didn’t hear any of that at our school but I bet it was happening.

    I got invited to the grade reunion but declined…that is the past and I’ve grown in so many ways since then, plus I could not handle being in the same room with my adversaries of that time…Addler and Fairfax, the prigs!

  41. Same for me, mate. I’ve avoided every re-union.

    And I’m sure a few of me ‘old school mates’ are glad of it: the memories might cause a blush or two of embarrassment these days.

  42. An old schools mate’s sister married the now leader of the opposition and his other sister gave him a hand and other parts when she worked for him.

  43. After the second world war a number of Nazi war criminals were executed for their crimes. I don’t have too much of a problem with this. If i agree with executing Nazi’s then i guess i agree with the concept of capital punishment.

    My argument for capital punishment would be that the crime of murder is so great that the only punishment for these people is to remove them from society.

    And no Joni, killing someone is not always murder. If that were the case then all Australian soldiers who killed someone in WW1 or WW2 would be guilty of murder.

    However there is the problem of what if someone innocent is executed.

  44. I don’t believe in capital punishment for a couple of reasons. One is that I believe that state sanctioned murder makes all of us a party to murder and as Min said, it isn’t a deterrent. Let’s face it for much of human history, the death penalty was the punishment for all crime from petty theft to murder, but did it stop crime? Not a bloody chance.
    Another reason is the chance that an innocent person may be executed. Anyone who finds that acceptable should consider whether they’d be as sanguine if it was one of their loved ones or themselves going for the high jump for a crime they didn’t commit.
    You can always be released from jail, but not from the grave. Timothy Evans is a case in point.
    However, I would have no qualms for people like John Bunting and his accomplices to be forced to labour in Burma railroad conditions for the rest of their days and I would be only too happy for them to live very, very long lives. That’s punishment IMO.
    I believe that’s the sort of punishment the Bali bombers deserve and it should be served in obscurity; no martyr bullsh#t. That would wipe the smiles off their faces.
    I also think it’s pretty unrealistic, not to mention somewhat ludicrous, to expect the Australian government to intervene in death penalty cases with foreign governments on behalf of people who are not Australian citizens. That’s a job for their own governments.

  45. “However, I would have no qualms for people like John Bunting and his accomplices to be forced to labour in Burma railroad conditions for the rest of their days and I would be only too happy for them to live very, very long lives. That’s punishment IMO.
    44. jane | October 31, 2008 at 11:07 pm”

    Yes but what about Adolf Hitler??? Let him live in prison for what he did???

    The crimes the Nazi’s committed are so great I cannot see how anything but the death penalty can be justified.

    In fact i would be willing to be part of this.

    Some people need to be removed.

    But as you say, what if someone innocent is executed.

  46. Life, no question.

    Death will only make martyrs….especially in this instance.

  47. Is does not help the hysteria surrounding these executions when our media insists on pushin stories like these –,27574,24584550-23109,00.html

    “None of the bombers’ relatives here expressed regret for the carnage unleashed on October 12, 2002, when bombs tore through packed tourist nightspots on the resort island of Bali. ”

    “Looking relaxed and beaming broadly like his older brother Amrozi, known as the “smiling assassin” for the grin he sported throughout his trial, Fauzi said the family had nothing to be ashamed about.”

    It is so clear from her utterances that the mother of 2 of the bombers is ignorant at best, senile at worst, who does not even know the fate of her sons.

    On the brink of the executions, the media should not be printing stories which generate more hatred which will surely be diverted towards other muslims who will inadvertantly be the deer in the headlights.

  48. I would not be surprised if they have already been shot and if not their families won’t get any notice as they are as radical as the bombers.

  49. jane | October 31, 2008 at 11:07 pm…Min said, it isn’t a deterrent. Let’s face it for much of human history, the death penalty was the punishment for all crime from petty theft to murder, but did it stop crime? Not a bloody chance.

    My criminal law lecturer was a bloke by the name of David Heilpern. One of the things that David stated which very much struck home is that severe/even unto lethal punishment is not a deterrent. The most important and vital deterrent is the likelihood of being caught.

    An example is, cutting off the hand of a person for the crime of theft. The crime rate remains about the same and in fact can even increase because law enforcers/governments believe that lopping off a limb as punishment will be a deterrent and they therefore reduce ‘cops on the beat’.

    A bit like importing/exporting drugs. The punishment is severe but the likelihood of being caught is minor.

    The reverse example is: Shops install golden arches and the crime rate for theft immediately drops to next to zilch.

    So we have 2 examples..the golden arches (you try to steal you’ll be caught) or punishment, you get caught you will have your right hand lopped off in the public square as a deterrant to others.

    The martyr (the person who loses a hand) becomes a local hero. Sadly the Bali bombers are likely to become local heroes.

    Of course this crime could not have been prevented, but they should have been treated as criminals rather than as martyrs.

  50. Neil of Sydney, death’s too easy for the buggers.
    And yes, if that slug Hitler hadn’t taken the easy way out, I would happily have seen him rot in a dungeon with Jewish, gay, Gypsy and communist jailers for a very long time. If I had my way the creature would still be alive and in torment for another 60 years.

  51. Yes jane, especially considering what the Russians had in store for his incarceration for the rest of his life, and look at the Neo-Nazi movement that sprung up and treat him as a martyr.

    Then who judges who is a tyrant or not? There are Western nations like France (Rwanda), Russia, UK and the US for example who have fostered or directly instigated mass murders and/or supported tyrants whilst they committed mass murders and oppressed people. If the death penalty is appropriate for tyrants then shouldn’t the leaders of Western democratic nations who are complicit in the crimes on humanity, whilst maybe not directly committing them, also be held to account by capital punishment?

    So where do you stop once you go down the road of using capital punishment? You need not look any further than the US to see the complete inequity of it, where it’s the ability to pay for a lawyer that often decrees whether you are executed or not. Read up on George W Bush’s time as governor of Texas and the terrible injustices he allowed and condoned in implementing capital punishment.

  52. We sadly have it in Australia where in certain states you are 70% more likely to be jailed if you are Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander for minor crimes eg disorderly conduct than if you are a white person committing the same crime.

    Likewise in the USA, upteen percent more likely to face the death penality if you are colored for the exact same crime under the exact same circumstances than if you are white. But maybe these stats are skewed because of far more severe punishments in some states???

  53. Agree, adrianofnowra @51. State sanctioned murder is still murder and I don’t want the state murdering people on my behalf.

  54. “Agree, adrianofnowra @51. State sanctioned murder is still murder and I don’t want the state murdering people on my behalf.
    53. jane | November 2, 2008 at 9:02 pm”

    Thats means all the Australian soldiers who killed people in WW1 and WW2 are all guilty of murder. When an Australian soldier killed someone from Germany or Japan they were wearing the Australian uniform.

    You seem to be saying that any soldier who kills someone is guilty of murder.

  55. Oh c’mon Neil trying to equate soldiers at war to capital crime.

    Interesting though Neil, soldiers who deliberately kill civilians or unarmed enemy soldiers are bought up for murder and if the country in which they are convicted has the death penalty they are executed. Soldiers in WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam were executed for murder.

  56. Oh c’mon Neil trying to equate soldiers at war to capital crime
    55. adrianofnowra | November 3, 2008 at 7:10 am

    I wasn’t trying to say that. But it is the killing of another human being sanctioned by the state. When Australian soldiers killed someone they were wearing the Australian uniform.

    Same with capital punishment. It is not murder as jane was trying to say.

  57. Latest news has the Bali Bombers’ lawyers lodging a final appeal while their clients are expressing frustration at not being killed soon enough..


  58. You’d be frustrated too reb if you thought someone was holding you back from nirvana & a harem full of Allah’s finest upon arrival.

    Ummm, OK, maybe not the harem girls.

  59. Apparantly the bali bombers have been visited by a health professional for a “health check”.

    Presumably to determine whether they’re fit enough to be executed.

    What an extraordinary world we live in….

  60. 1. I am against the death penalty.
    2. I won’t lose a moment’s sleep over the death of these rats.

    What gets to me, though, is this media countdown thing. It’s like we are giving the perpetrators of this crime relevance. And any potential future terrorists. It’s disgusting the amount of coverage it’s given, and here I am adding my own two cents.

  61. The bali bombers have been executed.

    Unsuprisingly, one the survivors feels little joy at the news…

    AUSTRALIAN survivor Peter Hughes says the Bali bombers have paid the highest price for mass murder, but their executions have not brought him any joy.
    “These guys went to set about mass murder and paid the highest penalty,” Hughes told CNN from Perth after hearing the three men had been executed by firing squad in Indonesia.

  62. The week that was …

    Eric Carwardine, in Perth, Western Australia

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