Like others, I have been appalled by the barbaric
execution state murder of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran together with six others by Indonesia. Our northern neighbour defends the killings as part of their ‘war’ on drugs.
A Filipino woman, Mary Jane Veloso, won a temporary reprieve from President Joko Widodo after another woman, I understand her cousin, “voluntarily surrendered” to police in The Philippines for recruiting Veloso to work as a maid and planting the drugs.
Earlier the Frenchman Serge Atlaoui won a temporary reprieve pending a legal challenge.
Australia has now recalled its ambassador for consultations. This is now seen as part of the routine by Indonesia. It was probably the least we could do. Had we not done it we would have been seen as weak. In January this year when a Brazilian was shot Brazil took the further step of refusing to accept the credentials of the new Indonesian ambassador in Brasilia. That precipitated a genuine diplomatic crisis.
Apart from Abbott earlier calling into play our aid for the Aceh tsunami, I think he and Julie Bishop handled the issue well. What they now need to do is mount an international campaign against the death penalty. I understand that there are 12 other Australians on death row around the world. Will they get the same attention?
Peter Hartcher finds President Joko Widodo weak, pathetically weak, almost beyond belief:
Joko Widodo, who took power just six months ago with stratospheric approval ratings, should have been feted when he appeared before his party’s national congress earlier this month.
Instead, he was humiliated. As he sat in the front row, his party’s chairperson, Megawati Soekarnoputri, harangued him from the lectern. She said that he owed the presidency to her. She told him to do as he’s told.
“It goes without saying that the president and vice president must toe the party line,” said Megawati, herself a former president and the daughter of Indonesia’s late founder, Soekarno.
“As the ‘extended hands’ of the party, you are its functionaries. If you do not want to be called party functionaries, just get out!”
Megawati’s speech won applause described by the Indonesian media as thunderous. And the president’s speech, which he had with him, ready to be delivered?
It was not heard. Jokowi, the nickname by which he’s universally known, was denied the opportunity to speak to his party congress. It was, in all, a brutal and calculated putdown.
He meekly accepted this public humiliation. When reporters asked his response to Megawati’s tirade, he replied: “It was very good.” It was abject. But she is the power behind his throne. He now finds that he has no dignity serving her, yet he cannot rule without her.
There will be plenty of other opinion pieces. Sunil Badami thinks our case is weakened by our own defiance of international human rights standards. Gay Alcorn says the time for politeness is over. She highlights the appalling behaviour of attorney general HM Prasetyo and reminds us of the incredible allegations of corruption made by Muhammad Rifan, the former lawyer for Chan and Sukumaran, who says the judges asked for more than $130,000 to give them a prison term of less than 20 years.
Alcorn points out that a Nigerian man killed was convicted of possessing just 50g of heroin. Chan and Sukumaran were certainly organisers of wholesale drug importation, but to Australia, not Indonesia. The Australian Federal Police did the work to catch them and certainly erred by not nicking them in Sydney rather than tipping off the Indonesians. At that point, however, it would have made sense for Indonesia to hand them over. The AFP could have interrogated them about suppliers and distribution channels, matters which the Indonesians have shown no interest in.
As things worked out Chan and Sukumaran rehabilitated (would this have happened in a Sydney jail?) and were working on rehabilitating others. Indonesia has now deprived itself of this resource. Thus it perpetrates its ‘war on drugs’.
As Tony Burke MP said:
Lives lost. Nothing gained.
Finally, here’s a painting of a heart done by Sukumaran signed by his fellow death row inmates and titled “Satu hati, satu rasa di dalam cinta” (One heart, one feeling in love):