Thursday, 2 October 2008

Australia: Rudd supports Bali executions

Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd today confirmed his support for the execution of the three Bali bombers, saying they 'deserve' the 'justice' they will receive.

Rudd was responding to comments by the three yesterday that there would be revenge attacks if they were executed, and expressing no remorse for the October 2002 bombing.

"The Bali bombers describe themselves as holy warriors," Rudd said on Fairfax Radio in Perth (story also here).

"I say the Bali bombers are cowards and murderers pure and simple and frankly they can make whatever threats they like.

"They deserve the justice that we delivered to them."

The final step
Rudd’s remarks today complete his move in recent months to take over the policy -- and the double standards -- of his predecessor, John Howard.

Under the previous prime minister, the Australian government supported particular executions where the government's political self-interest was involved, while arguing that it was "universally" opposed to the death penalty.

Confirmation of Australia's position under Rudd will again draw accusations of hypocrisy from across the region, and undermine the country's diplomatic attempts to argue for clemency for its own citizens facing execution overseas.

A gradual shift
Rudd told a media conference on 18 July 2008 that the government was opposed to the death penalty, but would not intervene in the cases of foreign nationals facing execution.

At that stage he stopped short of endorsing the use of the death penalty, arguing only that Australia would limit intervention to cases involving its own citizens.

"I would say by way of general principle the following, that together with the Liberal Party, our policy has been one of stated universal opposition to the death penalty, but in the case of foreign terrorists, we are not in the business of intervening on any of their behalf’s," he said.

However, before he was elected prime minister, Rudd called for a consistent position on the death penalty and international action towards abolition.

On 3 December 2005, the day after Australian citizen Van Tuong Nguyen was hanged in Singapore, Rudd told a media conference: "It is important that our policy [on the death penalty] is consistent."

Rudd's biographer Robert Macklin said in June last year that "one of his important foreign policy objectives" if he became prime minister would be to campaign for worldwide abolition of the death penalty.

Bombers facing death
Amrozi, his brother Mukhlas and Imam Samudra yesterday appeared in public outside their prison in Central Java for the Islamic holiday Idul Fitri.

The three men were sentenced to death for the bombing, which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

"If anybody kills us, God willing, there will be retaliation," Samudra said yesterday.

He also said the executions would not be carried out, and he had no regrets over what he had done.

Lawyers for the three men are currently mounting a constitutional challenge against Indonesia's death penalty, arguing execution by firing squad amounts to torture.

Related stories:
Australian government reminded of death penalty opposition -- 23 September 2008
Australia defends selective appeals for life -- 16 August 2008
'Only Australians' should be spared execution -- 06 January 2008
No Australian government will oppose terrorist executions -- 10 October 2007
Australia: Rudd would oppose death penalty -- 24 June 2007
Australia 'should act against death penalty' -- 03 August 2006

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kevin Rudd publicly states that the Bali bombers deserve the justice (death penalty) that will be delivered to them. The whole world has noted Mr Rudd's comments including the Indonesian Government. These same comments will no doubt be repeated by the Indonesian Prime Minister when it's time for the Bali Nine to be executed. Mr Rudd's comments have placed a nail on the coffins of the Bali Nine.