Wednesday 4 February 2015

Do They Deserve To Die?

Do Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan deserve to die, asks Maria Billias

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran inside Bali's notorious jail Kerobokan Jail. Picture: Ad
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran inside Bali's notorious jail Kerobokan Jail. Picture: Adam Taylor
AS it stands and possibly within a matter of days, Bali Nine drug mules Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan will be taken out to an Indonesian island at dawn, blindfolded and shot in the heart.
They will pay the ultimate price for taking a stupid risk – one they knew all too well could lead to their execution.
An execution as brutal as it is confronting, particularly because it will happen a mere ocean hop from our shores.
But an execution that cannot come soon enough for the Darwin father of a young man who tragically committed suicide after taking synthetic drugs last year.
John Saxelby holds no pity for Sukumaran and Chan. He regards them in the same vein as those responsible for supplying the drugs – albeit a very different kind – to his son. He thinks they should “rot in hell”.
Certainly 10 years ago when they thought it a good decision, along with seven others, to strap on 8.3kg of heroin and try to smuggle it into Australia, it automatically rendered them among the lowest common denominator in society.
They were also arrogant enough to think they wouldn’t get caught.
And if they hadn’t been, the millions of dollars they stood to make from street sales would have provided them with a very comfortable existence today. Probably not a very remorseful one either.
Ultimately Sukumaran and Chan knew they were dicing with their lives. These countries are not subtle in their messaging, particularly when you disembark a plane and are met with confronting messaging of the death penalty at every turn of the terminal.
At this point, I should state that I think capital punishment is abominable. I’m firm in my belief that these men must continue to be punished for what they did, but I cannot possibly accept that the world will somehow automatically become a better place by walking them into the jungle in the middle of the night and shooting them dead.
Of course capital punishment would act as a deterrent to any sane person, but wouldn’t spending a lifetime in a hellhole like Kerobokan do the same? There is no suggestion Chan and Sukumaran be pardoned to live out their days sipping pina coladas at the Four Seasons. Sparing these guys from being shot in the chest would mean they will permanently take residence with rapists, murderers and pedophiles, probably sharing a 10-man cell with 50 others.
They deserve nothing less and nothing more. And if they truly have reformed their lives over the past decade already served in Kerobokan, then they’d be better serving the community by helping others do the same.
These have been the cries of the celebrity-led “I stand for Mercy” campaign, calling on Indonesian President Joko Widodo to spare the men’s lives. So far pleas for clemency have been rejected by Widodo, a man hellbent on starting his new term with no compromises made on drug dealers.
Personal representations by Prime Minister Tony Abbott haven’t made a difference and clearly the only chance at life these guys have is if Widodo has a last-minute change of heart. Hardly likely, given his public standing as a man who will not bow to pressure, regardless of any candlelit vigils and calls for mercy.
And seemingly many Australians feel the same, including the likes of Derryn Hinch who has come out slamming those calling for mercy as hypocrites. It’s a far cry from the way Aussies and commentators alike responded to the plight of fellow convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby not so long ago. Regardless, the people who should warrant the most sympathy in this sorry saga are the parents of Chan and Sukumaran.
Because long after we have forgotten their sons’ names, they will be the ones left wondering how merciless the world really is.

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