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Cunning and Culling from Australia

Four Australian Parliamentarians Send Inconsistent Signals on Capital Punishment During a Recent Visit to Jakarta.

(9/30/2006) Four Australian parliamentarians visited their counterparts at the People's Consultative Assembly (DPR) in Jakarta on Thursday, September 21, 2006 to send confusing mixed signals on exactly where Indonesia's near neighbor stands on the issue of capital punishment.

The four Australian legislators, representing both ruling and opposition members of the Government, included Peter Slopper, Alan Ferguson, Anna Pacre and Harry Jenkins.

Confusing?

During their visit the legislators logged in with the Indonesian parliamentarians sending "mixed signals" on the following issues related to capital punishment:

o They protested the recent execution of three Christian men in Sulawesi found guilty of fomenting religious riots and killing in Poso.
o They questioned the prolonged legal process that is delaying the final execution of the three Bali Bombers convicted in connection with the October 12, 2002 attack that killed 202 people.
o They called for an elimination of the death penalty in Indonesia or at least the specific sentence commucation as it applies to the six Australian members of the Bali Nine awaiting execution for their conviction for drug smuggling.


In reply the Indonesian lawmakers attempted to explain to their Australian coleagues the reasoning behind President Yudhoyono's uncomprising stance demanding the execution of major drug dealers and the inherent futility and counterproductiveness of threats or itimidation by Australian public figures and the press urging "selective enforcement" of capital punishment in Indonesia as it impacts on Australian felons.

The two countries legislators arrived at an impasse when the Australians tried to persuade members of the DPR that mercy for the Bali Nine would assist efforts to recast the current negative image of Indonesia in the their nation's popular press.