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For Whom the Bell Tolls?

"Right to Life" Arguments by 3 Convicted Australian Drug Smugglers Fail Before Indonesia's Constitutional Courts .

(11/5/2007) Efforts by three of the Bali Nine to challenge the constitutionality of their pending death sentences suffered a significant setback last week when the Indonesian Constitutional Court ruled that as foreigners the constitution did not guarantee them any intrinsic right to life protected by the Constitution, which ipso facto prevented the panel of constitutional jurists from hearing the three Australian's challenge to legality of the capital penalty that now awaits them.

While the reluctance of the panel to extend constitutional protections to foreigners visiting or living in Indonesia ignited a new controversy, this aspect of the Constitutional Court's decision was rendered largely moot when the judges ruled in the case of two Indonesian's who had joined the legal action that the death penalty is an appropriate sentence for drug dealing. Thus, had the judges allowed that the Australian's enjoyed an equal right for constitutional protection, their fate would still be unchanged as the judges declared "no substantive difference" between drugs crimes and other serious crimes such as genocide.

The three Australians, Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Surumaran were part of a group of eight men and one woman who were apprehended in April 2005 trying to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin unto an Australian bound flight.

In rendering their decision the judges said that certain crimes abrogated the right to life, refusing to uphold the rights of criminals at the expense of the victims of crime.