Back in February of this year I asked if Australia’s Prime Minister John Howard, in collusion with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), had the Australian drug traffickers known as the Bali Nine, deliberately set up so that they could be arrested, tried and sentenced to death by Indonesian courts. I noted that the reason Howard and the AFP did this was specifically for the express purpose of deterring Australian drug smugglers from going to Indonesia in order to bring drugs back into Australia.
Australia no longer has a death penalty and has never had one for drug trafficking. Indeed, Australia’s sentencing history on drug traffickers is nowhere near as harsh as those of Indonesia.
Two of the Bali Nine, the ringleaders, were eventually sentenced to death while all of the others got lengthy jail terms including life imprisonment which in Indonesia usually does mean ‘life’. As a result of these harsh sentences all but one of the Bali Nine, one that had been sentenced to a comparatively lenient twenty years, appealed their sentences. Since all were caught literally red handed smuggling heroin, none of them were in any position to appeal against their convictions – only their sentences. Yesterday the results of those appeals were revealed and they shocked Australia. Instead of having their sentences reduced, the two that were sentenced to death had there sentence upheld while four others that had received lengthy prison terms will now have to face the death penalty. The other two that had appealed will serve life sentences.
The point is, however, that these people would not have to be facing the death penalty if the AFP, who had known of the Bali Nine’s plans to smuggle drugs into Australia from Bali, had arrested them in Australia. Instead, the AFP opted for informing the Indonesian authorities and did so in the full knowledge that Indonesia has the death penalty for drug trafficking. Furthermore, not only was the AFP aware of Indonesia’s harsh penalties for drug trafficking but it was also aware that the Indonesian government were having a major crack down on drug trafficking by making full use of the harsh penalties, including the death sentence, on offenders and, in particular, foreigners.
Just as Howard exposed his hypocrisy about the issue of the death sentence when he received news of the original sentences, so yet again he has shown himself to be unmoved by the plight of those sentenced to death reasserting only that Australian policy with regard to the death sentence and that if people are silly enough to get involved with drugs then there is little sympathy from him other than to formally apply to the Indonesians for a commutation of the sentence but even then not to expect too much.
There is little doubt that Howard and the AFP deliberately set up the Bali Nine to be caught red handed in Bali in order that they serve as a deterrent to those who aspire to bring drugs into Australia. Howard and the AFP in making the decision to allow the Bali Nine to go ahead with their plans have deliberately sentenced these people to death by proxy.
 Damian Lataan, ‘Have Howard and the AFP deliberately sentenced Australian’s to death by proxy?’, 15 February 2006. Available online: http://lataan.blogspot.com/2006/02/have-howard-and-afp-deliberately.html
 ‘Don’t expect death row rescue’, AAP via Sydney Morning Herald, 7 September 2006. Available online: http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/dont-expect-death-row-rescue/2006/09/07/1157222228302.html# Accessed 7 September 2006.