As Bali Nine faces execution in Indonesia, Australia begs for its release from prison

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By: Novpreet Bajwa

The ringleaders of the famous drug trafficking group Bali Nine will soon face execution in Indonesia for smuggling heroin into the country. Both are Australian citizens who were caught, along with other 7 members, in 2005 by the Indonesian authorities.

Execution as a punishment for drug trafficking is seen as wildly extreme and heinous in other countries but in Indonesia, the authorities see it as just. Drugs are intolerable in the country with the authorities believing it will corrupt the citizens and cause havoc in the country. Therefore, the country instated the strictest laws for these types of crimes, and the punishments are not lessened for anyone even when a foreign person is involved.

The country’s refusal to lessen these punishments has caused an outrage in many countries including Australia, which does not have the death penalty for even the most heinous crime. Australian authorities have pleaded with Indonesia to release the prisoners and even went so far as to suggest a prisoner swap, exchanging the two ringleaders, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, for two Indonesian prisoners held in Australia. All of their pleas heeded no changes as Indonesian authorities cite that there is no legal basis for them to accept this exchange. However, the Australian government disagrees as it states that Sukumaran and Chan have redeemed their actions in prison by mentoring the young about the wrongs of drug trafficking. This should lessen their punishment because they have learned their lesson and have been guiding the youth on what they have learned.

The prisoners are being held on the prison island, Nusakambangan, where all the other inmates are. As of right now, it is unknown when the prisoners will be executed, as the dates have been changed several times. And it’s probably a good thing that a date hasn’t been set since Indonesia has a very old-fashioned execution style. Instead of giving its prisoners a lethal injection like America does, Indonesia still execute its prisoners in front of a firing squad, making the style of punishment more heinous.

Indonesia’s method of execution does not phase the authorities, as they believe they are working within the bounds of the law. They are not budging on the punishment as one official states that Indonesia cannot give preferential treatment to one country without giving it to others.

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