Indonesia’s death row hypocrisy?
While Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran endure a tense wait for the firing squad on “execution island”, Indonesia has won reprieves for nearly 200 of their citizens facing execution overseas.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the publication Australia was not asking the Asian nation for anything Indonesia does not ask of other countries when it comes to its citizens facing death sentences.
“Indonesia has sought and has received from other nations stays of execution for Indonesian citizens on death row, including for drug offences,” Ms Bishop told The Sunday Telegraph.
“I welcome the fact that Indonesia opposes the death penalty for its citizens abroad and that’s why the Australian Government is seeking the same mercy for Mr Sukumaran and Mr Chan.’’
Despite receiving reprieves for its own citizens, the Indonesian government has ignored appeals for clemency for Chan and Sukumaran.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo defended his government’s position during an interview broadcast on Al Jazeera television yesterday.
“As a head of state of course I’m going to try to save my citizens from execution,” he said.
“That’s my obligation as a president, as a head of state … To protect my citizens who are facing the death penalty but on the other hand we have to respect other countries that apply capital punishment.
“The constitution and the existing law still allows the death penalty. But, if the Indonesian people want to change it in the future, then it’s possible, why not?”
Last year, Indonesia reportedly paid millions of dollars in blood money to stop the execution of an Indonesian maid, Satinah Binti Jumadi Ahmad, who was facing the death for murder in Saudi Arabia. President Widodo was one of the politicians who pled for mercy.
Ms Bishop referred to the case in Parliament this week, warning Indonesia’s refusal to change Chan and Sukumaran’s death sentences may have consequences for country’s future appeals against the death penalty for their own citizens.