Do you stand for mercy? 614



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Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran have controversially had their sentence of death by firing squad confirmed this week and it has raised the interest and concern of many Australians. For a long long time most adults have known that to traffic drugs into the southern Asian nations meant the death penalty. But when confronted with the brutal execution of fellow countrymen at gunpoint 10 years after they committed their crime, many seem horrified at the punishment. TV stars and famous people in Australia have banded together this week to produce a video pleading for mercy, called “I stand for mercy”.  So today I have to ask how you feel… Do you stand for mercy for these two men?

My initial thoughts on the situation, when I didn’t know a lot about it was quite harsh, I have to admit. My parents raised me with a very firm and unsympathetic view of drug trafficking. “If you ever ever carry drugs into one of these countries, expect to be put to death”, I remember my mother telling me melodramatically at the young age of 12 or 13, probably about the time when Barlow and Chambers faced execution in Malaysia. And it wasn’t just a one-time conversation. She kept up insight into the plight of drug traffickers any time the media made it relevant, ensuring I had a solid appreciation for international laws (even though I didn’t even know what drugs were back then).

Many of you will remember the execution by hanging of Kevin Barlow and Brian Chambers back in 1986 for trafficking heroin in Malaysia. The media back then was up in arms about the merciless three year plight for clemency before they were put to death. This is the most memorable mercy-fight I ever saw in Southeast Asia. Still, they were hung as their sentence required. We all watched as Schapelle Corby set a national example of Indonesia’s lack of sympathy for drug trafficking in 2004, but were astounded when she was released 10 years later. And even after watching Schapelle, surprisingly, just two years later these two, as leaders of the Bali Nine were caught doing the unthinkable, shifting heroin from Australia into Indonesia. Is it possible that anyone could be naive enough to think they won’t be caught?

But my harshness was met with empathy for them when I learned more and more about their situation. Yes, they have done the wrong thing, and they they are not debating that. But is 10 years too long to wait for a punishment for the death penalty without a thorough review of their situation, contribution and rehabilitation? These men did their crime in April 2005, and were sentenced to death in February 2006, less than 12 months later. They have challenged and fought for their freedom for nearly 10 years, exhausting every legal avenue including pleading with the President of Indonesia for clemency. Both men have contributed significantly to their prison environment, teaching other prisoners skills in reading, art, English and have had much empathy for their fellow inmates. By all of our own prisoner rehabilitation standards it sounds as though they are doing fairly well.

And yet they are likely to be pulled from their cells with 72 hours notice, blindfolded and shot by a firing squad. What an awful thought that any human being who made a significant error of judgement 10 years earlier and have made such a significant effort to recompense for their errors could have this happen to them.

The argument for mercy is rippling nationwide with their lawyers and our own Prime Minister both willing to argue that the men are reformed and deserving of mercy.

Despite it all, Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo argues executions of drug offenders are needed to shock the nation out of its drugs crisis.

The pair’s lawyers are preparing to file for another judicial review of their cases, but it’s uncertain the courts will hear a second extraordinary appeal.

Everyday Australians and our own TV stars have stepped in to stand up for the pair with empathy. “I stand for mercy” is the catchcry for the campaign, and the video below tells the story.

Tell us today… Do you stand for mercy? I do. I think everyone who has the chance for a second chance, and has made a good shot at it, should.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. NO they did the crime in another country. They must abide by their laws pay for the crime of that country.

  2. I have always wanted mercy for these young men, they made a mistake but have turned their lives around. I watched his family in tears as they held a service in a Christian church for these boys and I thought of the so called Christians in here who want death for them..I glad I am an atheist, we are kinder people

    9 REPLY
    • I am a a christian and I have always stood for mercy.

      1 REPLY
      • I too am a Christian and I would like the Indonesian Government to reconsider. I STAND FOR MERCY.

    • Yes, I am for mercy. You don’t have to be an atheist to be kinder or have mercy. Many who write on social media may not be Christians at all.
      Those young men will be killed and their spirits will be free and yet their family will suffer the life sentence of unbearable grief and sadness.

    • That’s very harsh against Christians, Leanna. How do you know the people saying the young men should have obeyed the laws of the country they were visiting are “So-called Christians,” as you put it? You, yourself, are making an uninformed judgement there. For an atheist, you sound very “holier than thou.”

    • As a Christian Jeanie Eade what are you doing to help all the victims of these paedophile priest and clergymen? nothing I suspect.

    • well that was hook line and sinker and I appreciate, the Christians here who are asking for mercy, but what I want for those boys does not matter, we as a country needs to be supportive of them if they are to have any chance of escaping death

    • Religion has nothing to do with it.. I feel ten years is punishment in itself – they should have 20 years to life. Christians believe in ‘eye for an eye… these young blokes would have taken a huge number of ‘eyes’… I still feel (now) that they should be spared being murdered.

  3. Yes, 10 years is too long – they should have been executed a long time ago.

    6 REPLY
    • Good question, Wendy. Probably not, so I can be grateful that I have not raised such scum. I can be grateful also that I have not raised kids that have become victims of the trade that these low-lives are in. I have no sympathy, whatsoever, and cannot find one single reason, why Indonesia should not execute them.

    • Berndt Rudiger Olsen, you are very Cocky, till life unexpectedly kicks you , not everything turns out how you planned , not everything you can control. Heartless, rude comment.
      Nobody more against drug as me , But, 10 years in hell to me is enough punishment .

    • You can certainly control, if you want to peddle drugs – that’s your choice. If you were to spare a moment for the victims and have less compassion for the criminals, maybe you would comment differently. There are NO excuses for traficing drugs.

    • NO mercy, they deserve the penalty according to the law of the land they committed the CRIME…but I do agree that to make them wait 10 years is cruel. They should have been executed within 24 hours of the conviction in Court.

  4. Having watched all the things on TV yesterday about this, with the families of these men being interviewed, I felt so sorry for them. I like many others, had probably forgotten the ages of these men when they did this. It is a dilemma for me as I have always been a firm believer that if you go to another country, you must abide by the rules of that country. Even at that young age they knew what they were doing was wrong, but yes, we all do things at that age that we wish we hadn’t. The question is should there be an age limit on it? If it was a brutal murder or similar would we want clemency for them? I have always believed that we should welcome refugees into this country, as long as they live by our rules and this has become a big thing in this country, with the terrorist violence etc. So do we have the right to ask another country to forgo this, regardless the crime or punishment? Would we, these days, in this country? I don’t know if there is a right answer. I feel for all involved, but pray other young people will learn from this.

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    • My concern is the damage they & people like them do , when dealing in drugs ,I don’t condone murder or murderous actions

    • We must abide by the laws of every country we visit.

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      • True. But that does not mean they can’t have a second chance. Everyone deserves a second chance especially if they have proved that they have made an attempt to turn their life around. No parents should have to suffer the grief of the death of a son or daughter who has been sentenced to death for any crime. The young men will be dead and will no longer suffer but those who are left behind will suffer the result of the crime. Spare a thought for them. How can killing someone be the answer. They have already suffered. Enough. Death should never be a penalty this long after a crime.

    • WE are not making the judgement, the Indonesion Government are. Everyone that feels sorry for these two, do also have sympathy for the others that have gone before them? Or is this sympathy just becase they are Australian??

    • Do the crime,do the time we all know drugs are a serious problem no matter what country we live in but all the same to young to die.

    • It’s hard Barbara. I watched those poor families and I’m sure when those men were young, they didn’t think of what their actions may do to their families, but I am equally sure they knew exactly what they were doing. But who are we to say they are not reformed??? I am a big believer of “When In Rome”, but that is easy to say when these young men are not our young men. As for feeling this way just because they are Australians, well yes, I am guilty of wanting an Australian to have support but that does not stop other countries supporting their sons, brothers etc. It is true that we often see so called reformed people committing again, but shouldn’t we be looking in our own backyard to fix this?? How many murderers, rapists and child molesters get another chance? Should we not set harsher penalties? We need to bear in mind that these men have done ten years in a prison that Aussies couldn’t even imagine. Yet we are quick to condemn them while letting murderers and child molesters out of much “better” facilities, doing less time for their crimes.

    • I normally wouldn’t care about drug smugglers,but they were very young & have rehabilitated them selves in a very hard prison,our police should have waited for them in Australia & not informed police in Bali as they were taking it out not in,they took the easy way out knowing what would happen to them if they got caught in Bali,I would normally say when in Rome do as the Romans do as I have travelled extensively,the Indonesians are quite wiling to take Australian tax payers money in foreign aid when it could go to better use here,but not willing to listen our governments,as much as I love BALI I am not happy about this & hope they see some sense, if it was reversed they would get a slap on the hand & maybe just maybe a couple of years,some said was it only because they are Australian we are against it,maybe!but if you don’t stand up for your own who will..!!!!

    • i watched thepoor families too i have also watched the poor families of kids who died of drugs .they had no chance to plead for their kids life..indonesian laws crime in indonesia indonesian penalty..

    • Fran Spears,did you know that for everyone of those so called people that get granted refugee statis the oz government GIVES them a handout of between $30,000-$40,000each? which they don’t have to pay back of aussie taxpayers money? no cos the government doesn’t tell u they do it,i certainly didn’t expect hard earned tax dollars to be given away to them for free

    • But why are you blaming them? Blame the government. I know that and as someone who is struggling with unemployment right now and not sure where my next meal will come from, it makes my blood boil, but it doesn’t make them all bad. It DOES mean there is something wrong with the system. But as I always say, the words I write are only my opinion. I don’t expect people to have to like my opinion but I reserve the right to have it, just as you can have yours. Have a nice afternoon.

  5. No. When in Foreign countries we must obey their laws.
    These two (along with others) broke their laws so they must pay the price.
    Do the crime one must pay the price.

    6 REPLY
    • Although I do not believe in the death penalty, they went there with an intent of smuggling drugs. If they were successful would they have shared their profit with the rest of us, the answer is NO. I lost my older brother to a drug overdose and these blokes hoped to gain from the import of drugs. Do the crime, pay the time.

    • Let’s say each country has it laws and drugs could have killed others your child mine who took those drugs .I don’t think they should come back here but stay there and help the poor people there

  6. Capital Punishment is rubbish. These young men do not deserve to die like animals. The Indonesians let a terrorist out of gaol but want to shoot like dogs two young men that do more work in the gaol than the people that work or visit there. It is a disgrace

    11 REPLY
    • I was against capital punishment, but these 2 Australians have turned their lives around, and I think 10 years in the hell hole of a prison should be their punishment. Is our Government now going to punish the Indonesians by withdrawing the massive amount of money we send there. As a lot of people say, do the crime, pay the price…….so we abide by their laws and they should be judged by the will of Australians. Not many people I have spoken to support the support Indonesia is given, the money sent there could help clear our supposed national debt. They want to execute these two men at another island so as not to affect the tourism and spending of Australians to their precious Bali. Double standards at the least and despite our Govt. Indonesia is not our friend.

      1 REPLY
    • You’ve forgotten about the people that die because of drugs, there own doing I know, but if drugs were not available then the vulnerable would not be tempted.

    • Those who bought their drugs would eventually die like animals too. It was not a “mistake” – they knew the laws of the country, they involved other gullible young Australians looking for a quick buck,and they had no thought or compassion for the misery that hundreds of families go through with drug addicts in the family.Had they got away with it it is entirely possible that it would have happened again and again. Indonesia is trying to clean up it’s act and stamp on corruption – Malaysia and Singapore have done it , only the mad and greedy try to get away with anything over there. This was greed pure and simple. The only people I feel sorry for are the families but these two obviously never thought ahead to what being caught might do to them.

    • if you get time scroll down and read the comments..I just did and I felt heartened that so many older Australian’s show compassion, sometimes I think we are becoming very hard in this country, then I read so many comments asking for mercy, and I know we are still a compassionate country, that gives me hope

  7. They should be in Oz jail on a long term basis. Don’t agree with executions friendly fire or not.

    7 REPLY
    • PERHAPS WE COULD SEND THE ARMY OVER DEFY INDONESIAN LAW SHOOT UP THE PRISON AND BRING THEM HOME chris stringer wtf are you talking about them being in an a oz jail

    • If the offence originated in Aus then the offenders need to be extradited to face law in Aus. Unless it’s legal to export that class drug. Not hard eh Graeme?

    • Definitely NOT. Why should we support them in Jail. They should have been executed within 24 hours of their conviction.

    • How did offence originate in Australia? They were caught in Indonesia with the drugs strapped to their bodies, ready to come back to Australia. They are where they belong facing the penalty they deserve. Not hard eh Chris!

  8. These men knew what the law of the country were when they “did the crime” so they must abide by those laws when they are carried out. We cannot think that another country will change their laws justifier us.

    4 REPLY
    • We all make mistakes especially when we are young and finding our way. Just some bigger and more serious than others. Yes, abide by the findings of “Guilty” of the Indonesian system and imprison them for a long time. But, I will NEVER condone the killing of another human being for any reason. I always thought imprisonment was supposedly for rehabilitation which very unfortunately rarely happens. However, when it does occur as it seems to have with these two men, we execute them! Vengence destroys societies.

    • One question .Has the execution of any in Bali stopped the drug trade or stopped murderers in America or elsewhere?

  9. Mercy should always be our first thought no matter what anyone has done . When we wish for someone to be put to death we only put ourself in the same position as the people firing the bullet . I will always show mercy to all people who for whatever reason get themselves into trouble God asks us to forgive so i will . (But for the grace of God go I ) This could be anyone close to us . They have have done everything asked of them by the indonesian gov to reabilitate it is the gov that is showing no mercy . I will not put myself in the same postion . I give them my support and prayers . !!!

    2 REPLY
    • Yes Robyn I. Pray for them too. Pray that they are removed from this earth the sooner the better. Nothing but money seeking scum that pray on the weak or naive and ruin many lives whilst they live their lives laughing all the way to the bank.

  10. I find it disturbing that Australians say “we have to obey the laws of Indonesia” and yet that same country have successfully saved around 250 of their own citizens from death penalties around the world, and somehow it’s not ok for us to do the same. Haven’t we all done stupid things when we were young? I stand for mercy.

    3 REPLY
    • I agree totally Jane. Somewhat hypocritical of the Indonesians, who appear to have one law for their own and another for foreigners.

    • How supportive of Indonesia are all those people who don’t want asylum seeker boats coming here? Those boats are Indonesian..I am not hearing people yelling support for those people traffickers or wanting to put them to d eath.!! and they cost our country much more. These are 2 Australian. boys..who yes did the wrong thing but life in an Indonesian goal would be far more punishment and more humane than death

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