The execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran is imminent and, as the Indonesian ambassador to Australia Nadjib Kesoema has said, ‘the situation was final’ and there was ‘nothing Australia could do to save Chan and Sukumaran from the firing squad’.
The reality, however, is that there was never any intention of Australia doing anything to save them from a firing squad in the first place. Right from the very moment the Bali Nine set foot on the aircraft in Australia that took them to Bali they were doomed. If the Australian government wanted to save them from the firing squad then they would never have let them get aboard that aircraft knowing full well what the Bali Nine were planning and what the consequences were going to be.
Right from the very beginning of this sorry saga I have argued that the Bali Nine were deliberately set up and that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and the Australian government at the highest levels, including the Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, and the AFP chief at the time, Mick Keelty, together with then Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, conspired with the Indonesian authorities to have the Bali Nine caught red-handed smuggling drugs and that in the subsequent trials the ringleaders would be sentenced to death and ultimately executed. The intention as far as the Australian government and the AFP were concerned is to let the executions serve as a deterrent to other Australians thinking of smuggling drugs in or out of Indonesia or, indeed, any other country that has the death penalty for dealing in drugs.
Australia hasn’t been anywhere near forceful enough in its dealings with the Indonesians in trying to save the lives of Chan and Sukumaran. Both Howard then and Abbott today have done nothing to try and save their lives other than plead personally to the Indonesian presidents of the time to commute the death sentences. Both have claimed they respect the laws of other nations and also have said they did not want to upset the good relationship between Indonesia and Australia and can do nothing more than make personal pleas to the Indonesian president.
But these are hollow words. They claim to respect the laws of other nations, but do they really? This so-called respect doesn’t extend to countries that execute gays as in Iran and Saudi Arabia, which successive Australian governments have vigorously criticised, yet ignores other countries that execute innocent prisoners or execute those whose crimes were committed when they were just children or execute those who are clearly intellectually disabled all of which happens all too often in the United States.
The hypocrisy of the Australian government continues as the Abbott government completes the task Howard, Ruddock and Keelty set out to achieve; to deliberately have Australians executed despite having no death penalty in Australia and allow an Indonesian firing squad to become Australia’s proxy executioners.