Australians on death row – what about the others? 314



View Profile

At the moment the media is flooded with news about Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan’s impending execution, but what about the other Australians facing execution overseas?

It’s easy to forget or perhaps not even realise that there are many more Australian prisoners abroad than just the two in focus – they are hardly reported on or even mentioned. One could look at Schapelle Corby’s case as a stroke of luck considering the amount of drugs on her, and the sentence and time served in prison versus the alleged crimes by other inmates.

So exactly who are the other Australians incarcerated off our shores? According to SMH, at least a dozen Australians are currently facing the death penalty…and that isn’t including Pham Trung Dung in Vietnam, and Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan in Bali. Of the 12 others facing possible execution, two are grandmothers.

We do know the names of two Australians who have had brief media coverage – Peter Gardiner, caught with 30kg of methamphetamine in China, and Maria Elvira Pinto Exposto, a 51-year-old grandmother, caught with 1.5kg of methamphetamine in Malaysia.

DFAT has declined to comment on who the other cases are, but one is believed to be a 71-year-old grandmother – a shocking revelation. According to SMH, a DFAT spokeman said, “These figures are subject to revision and represent the best of our knowledge. As a matter of policy we do not disclose the names or locations of these consular clients”.

Another alarming statistic that Fairfax Media uncovered was that foreign police have been involved in 239 potential death penalty situations since 2012, though its not clear how many were related to Australians.

It seems as if the Australian prisoners we know well appeal to the media and get enough support from their friends and family, resulting in a public interest. And if they don’t, well, they are silently sitting in cells. But is that how it should be? Should we care for them all equally or not at all?

Since Bali Nine smuggler Scott Rush’s father tipped off the AFP to his son’s whereabouts, there has been chatter about whether the AFP should have withheld the information about the drug smuggling ring until the Bali Nine were back in Australia. Since a 2009 court hearing, where the AFP was exonerated from acting unlawfully in the Bali Nine case, there have been new guidelines imposed. The AFP can receive tip-offs about Australians who may potentially commit a death penalty offence but they need to take several factors into account such as the age of the person.

According to legal scholar George Williams, who has extensive knowledge on the death penalty, the AFP need to further withdraw themselves from involvement in overseas cases, and told SMH “If you think what happened to the Bali Nine is wrong, then we are going to have to look at these guidelines…They don’t prevent the same thing happening again”.

The AFP have a direct link with international law enforcement, with around 1,000 ongoing cases.

Photo: Tenplay


So what do you think? Do you think there should be fairer media coverage about the Australians incarcerated overseas? Or is it best to keep it quiet as not to jeopardise their chances of release? Should the AFP be involved in cases where Australians are doing something gravely wrong? Tell us below.

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. Agree Berndt these two are criminals how many people have they killed with their drugs, focus on something more important

  2. I’m sorry everyone who goes there knows the risks if you do the crime you face the consequences

  3. What would have happened if they got away with it 10 years ago?

    1 REPLY
    • they would b sitting rich in a mansion in a rich suburb still dealing in drugs

  4. Can’t believe there are people out there who still think killing people for whatever reason is right. Yes, they broke the law, yes they knew the risks, and no I don’t condone for one moment what these men did. Punishment is essential, but who amongst us has the right to decree who should live or die? The death penalty is barbaric, and yes of course the others on death row are important. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    11 REPLY
    • They will die alright – and sooner than they expected for their dastardly deeds of death, dealing in drugs. The irony is that if either has given his life to Christ by now, he will gain everlasting life. Does that surprise anyone? Even the penultimate miracle of Christ was during the crucifixion He granted a felon “paradise” with Him. Why? That ‘low life’ said two things that got him over the line. One of repentance. The other of faith. How are our ‘backyards’???

    • Signs say, “Drug carriers will face the death penalty”. How much clearer do you need to be told. Break the law, face the consequences. They will be instantly rehabilitated.

    • Let he is without sin cast the first stone Berndt

      1 REPLY
      • we r talking DRUG DEALERS here not some apostle of our LORD. What about the other of the Bali nine, these 2 guys told them if they did not deliver the drugs as scheduled they would kill them. Looks like the shoe is on their foot now

    • How many people would die of the heroine brought back here. Did that cross your mind Rosanne ?

    • Of course it crossed my mind Jana. I have had close friends lose children to drugs. I have wept with them, and shared their pain, although I can’t even begin to imagine their pain. I don’t approve of drug dealing, drug taking or drug trafficking on any level. Keep them in prison for life if you will.

    • I agree with you Rosanne Jamese we don’t have the right to make judgements on others.The death penalty is barbaric,these were young men,only thinking of themselves ,and not the terrible outcome to others,they have tried to repent,give them life in prison.I am also aware of many others in the same situation .life for them also,not death.

  5. It is sad for the parents and relatives of these convicted persons, but how about thinking of the lives they would have ruined if they had got away with it. They would have given others a death penalty so I am afraid they must pay for their crimes. And they knew the penalty if caught, we should not be interfering in other countries laws.

    16 REPLY
    • Indonesia tries to stop the death penalty when it is their nationals overseas The death penalty is wrong

    • I wonder how people would feel if it was their child who had gotten some of the drugs these people where bringing in isn’t that a death penalty too. What about the people who od on the filthy stuff they were trafficing.

    • That’s just it, I hate drugs, but they didn’t get away with it. Why are we all not in arms when they give a two year sentence to similar crimes here?????

    • Good point Alison. Also, everyone knows the laws and what happens in Indonesia when drug trafficking……easy to be sorry after you are caught. This is what they are really sorry about (being caught). I don’t agree with capital punishment in any country, but if you know it is a law in the country you are visiting or living in, then you abide by it. So, alas they will pay the price for their folly.

    • Yes, they will. They were certainly planning on destroying many lives here in Australia, some could have died through taking those drugs. The world does not need drug dealers. They are criminals.

    • Ok they got caught this time they are remorseful, they are going to be shot, how many other times have they done this before getting caught,even though those drugs haven’t reached our shores others they transported have so they have probably caused other people heart ache and death ,good riddens feel for their family only.

    • My heart goes out to silly young men who traffic drugs to make money and end up in this situation where they’ll lose their lives But,the fact is that the drugs would end up in other young people’s hands could kill them. Therefore, they are committing manslaughter. If we had the same laws here in Australia I’m sure the drug trafficing would be reduced considerable.

    • when they hanged 2 australians years ago it kept th kids from trying this for decades ..hence no australians executed till now IT WORKED

    • If an addict is in need of a fix, they will find the drugs somewhere…the people who buy these drugs are also guilty of making bad choices

  6. Do the crime, do the time. In Australia they would have done that, but we give less to murderers at times. This crime started in our country apparently, why didn’t we stop them leaving?? Where does compassion after ten years in hell come in do you think?

    4 REPLY
    • No. It didn’t start here.
      The Australian authorities were tipped off that they were going to bring the drugs INTO Australia. So they tipped off the Indonesian authorities.
      They were bringing the drugs into Australia; not out of Australia.

    • they should have been apprehended in Australia..what happened to the Indonesian drug lords that sold them the drugs?

  7. I stand for Mercy..but to those of you saying these 2 have too much media attention, why is it so difficult for you to understand that this may be a good thing? If this enforces with kids today not to try smuggle drugs, then this sorry incident has achieved one good thing. I will never support State sanctioned murder in any country

    1 REPLY
  8. So there’s people who think it’s acceptable to kill another person…. What if it was your son awaiting the death penalty… Would you be so condemning. Yes leave them in jail to serve their sentence but don’t sentence them to death

    7 REPLY
    • And what if it was your child who died a drug induced death curled up in a filty urine splattered laneway with no one around to help them or hold their hand.
      Because that’s what drug dealers do to our families and friends.

    • Ruth I am going to say something here that will upset you, but these kids/young adults CHOOSE to take drugs as well with no thought to the pain they will cause to their families once hooked. Once they are hooked the drugs make them crazy so eventually they can die alone. I HATE drugs as well. However I don’t want to see anyone die.
      Leave these kids in jail for the another 15 years, so they get a sentance of 25 years which is what murderers can get.

    • Ruth believe it or not but my son was addicted to meth but he was one of the lucky ones! I’ve seen the drug dealers & as a nurse I see the worst of a drug addicted patient. Two wrongs don’t make a right!

    • If this was one of our kids we would fight for them to live. They did know the risks the same as drug addicts the first time they try them. Here is a thought if anyone thinking of taking drugs didn’t then there would be no market. Both sides of the debate have made incredibly stupid decisions and I for one wish they could live. None of them bothered to consider the pain they will cause to their families. If they did think they dismissed it & went ahead with their decisions.

      It is not just the dealers who are despicable. Drugs are addictive & they make you into something that is horrific & you could die in terrible conditions. Your families are left dealing with their loss. In some ways they have already lost their son/daughter/father/mother/brother/sister etc etc as they are just looking for the next hit as they can be beyond help. If they put up their hand for help then maybe there is a chance but not many do. Hence the market for the drug dealers.

    • Of course if they were my sons or brothers I would be devastated and do all I could to prevent the death penalty being carried out. I can completely understand their heartbreak. However, they knew the risks, they didn’t care about how much pain their actions would cause drug addicts here in Australia. I’m not in favour of the death penalty in the case of drug runners but I’m not prepared to campaign for the commutation of their death penalty overseas. I’ll add that I am not against the death penalty in all cases (eg Anita Cobby killers), where there is absolutely no doubt of their guilt and their crimes were so terrible that they would always be considered dangerous to others if they should be released or escape. Future innocent victims on whom they could inflict the same, or even worse, terrible pain and death deserve to be protected.

    • if it was one of mine and they put others at risk with their drug smuggling i would expect them to be punished in accordance with the laws of the country they were in i wouldnt condone death but these men knew the risks and knew how many their drugs could have harmed so do the crime face the punishment

    • I’m sorry but the only response I have is thats a heartless statement. We’re all however are entitled to our own point of view.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *