The sixth anniversary of the Bali Bombings which claimed 202 lives, including 88 Australians, is a cataylst to reflect. To feel deep sympathy for the families and friends of the victims, and for the people of Bali whose world was irrevocably changed by the event. But also to examine our attitude towards the bombers awaiting “justice” on death row.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd responded to the gloating Bali bombers at the end of Ramadan a couple of weeks earlier saying: ‘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.’
In remarks delivered at the Ubud Writer’s Festival in Bali today, Fr Frank Brennan challenges us to think about the nature of true justice. The abstract of his talk would be a useful starting point for a classroom discussion on capital punishment and the death penalty.
I thought the time had come when our national leaders could espouse that justice excludes the death penalty for anyone, no matter what their offence and no matter what their lack of remorse.
After Ronald Ryan was hung in Melboune Jail in 1967, all Australian jurisdictions abolished the death penalty, and now our government has joined the call for an international moratorium.
Witholding none of the anguish felt on the anniversary of the bombing, Fr Frank urges that Australia “lead others down a more humane path, away from the death penalty.”
There is always point in standing up for principle even when the view expressed is unpopular and a minority view..
For another perspective to contribute to a classroom discussion, read the transcript of the Radio National interview On Death Row.
What do the condemned think about while they’re on death row? This is one of the questions Luke Davies wanted to ask when he spent time with two men on death row at Bali’s Kerobokan Prison, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. They are two of the ‘Bali 9’ who were arrested in 2005 and charged with drug trafficking.
Luke Davies has written about his time at Kerobokan Prison in the essay ‘The Penalty is Death’ which is in the latest Monthly magazine.