Saturday, 18 October 2008

Protest Bali bombers' executions - priest

The attack was a conspiracy between "America, Australia and the Jews" and the three convicted bombers - Amrozi, Imam Samudra and Ali Ghufron - had been framed: Abu Bakar Bashir

High profile Catholic priest Frank Brennan has called on the Australian Government to speak out against the execution of the three Bali bombers as it draws nearer.

Father Brennan said Australia needed to maintain a strong stance against capital punishment - including for the Bali bombers - or risk confusing the issue.

"We all feel profound sympathy for the victims and the victims' families," he told a death penalty panel discussion at the Ubud Writers Festival in Bali today.

"It's no denial of our sympathy to say we have a deep sympathy for you and your plight, but we still maintain a constant philosophical approach, namely that the death penalty in all circumstances is wrong."

His comments came as three Islamic militants on death row over the 2002 Bali bombings [scapegoats] were today visited by family members as Indonesia prepares to announce details of their impending executions.

Indonesia's attorney-general today reportedly reiterated the men would be put to death this year, and he would announce the month next week.

"Information is expensive ... later on the 24th, I will not announce everything," Hendarman Supandji said on Indonesia's ElShinta radio.

Indonesia's Constitutional Court is expected to rule on Tuesday on a side challenge by the bombers' lawyers, who have argued the country's use of firing squads to carry out executions amounts to torture.

Defence lawyer Achmad Michdan said Amrozi and Imam Samudra were visited by their wives, mothers and other relatives at their Nusakambangan Island prison, off Central Java, today.

He said relatives of Amrozi's brother Mukhlas would visit next week.

The men were convicted of playing key roles [scapegoats] in the October 12, 2002, Bali nightclub bombings which killed 202 people, including 88 Australians.

Rush hopeful

Meanwhile, death row Australian drug mule Scott Rush has written a letter read to the Bali writers' festival, hoping for changes to laws which one day might overturn his own death sentence.

"I'm not a writer but I am a convicted criminal," the now 22-year-old Rush wrote.

"I have been through some very rough times and have experienced some very long, slow nights.

"I have had a lot of time to think and I'm very sorry for what I have done and what I have caused.

"I still hope that one day I can show I'm capable of reform."

Bali bombers' executions not fair: judge

The former chief justice of Indonesia's Constitutional Court has questioned the fairness of executing the Bali bombers under convictions which were previously declared to be unconstitutional.

Until very recently Jimly Ashidique was the chief justice of Indonesia's Constitutional Court, where he remains as judge for the next few months.

He said that rulings of the constitutional court effectively change Indonesian law.

In 2004 the court ruled that it was unconstitutional to convict the Bali bombers under an anti-terrorism law enacted after those terrorist attacks.

That decision however was said not to effect sentences which have already been handed down, such as the 2003 death sentences on Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra.

However Justice Ashidique said that according to Indonesia's criminal code any change in the law after a crime is committed should be decided in favour of the accused.

"It is not fair," he said, adding that such decisions are up to judge's discretion.


Rudd firm on capital punishment stance

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the fact that he backs the death penalty for the Bali bombers in Indonesia does not signal any change in his opposition to capital punishment in Australia.

[What a contradiction in terms?]

Mr Rudd says the three men on death row in Indonesia over the bombings that killed 202 people, including 88 Australians, are cowards and mass murderers who deserve the justice that will be delivered to them.

[Wrong again: The convicted Bali bombers did not have the means to create such a bomb. There are reports that in one Balinese kampong that provided labour to the clubs in Kuta Beach, seven empty coffins were buried, because there were no identifiable remains of the missing workers. It was as if they had been vaporised. Scores of people, mainly locals, are thought to have disappeared without trace.]

Cleric blames CIA for Bali bombing
An Indonesian Islamic cleric said the 2002 attack which killed more than 200 people, including 88 Australians, was the work of the CIA.

Tears flow for Bali victims :Australia's Terrorism Wake Up Call
The horrific bombings of the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar in Bali, on October 12, 2002, considerably strengthened the hand of the Coalition of the Willing (CoW) in pursuing the War on Terror. Here was an opportunity to harden the hearts of the Australian and US public against Islamic fundamentalists. It was also a chance for the Indonesian government to justify harsh measures in the war against terrorists and secessionists, such at those in the province of Aceh.

Death penalty ban 'would help save Bali 9'
A Sydney Federal Labor backbencher says a permanent Commonwealth ban on the death penalty will help the campaign to get Australians off death row in Bali.

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