After 10 years in jail, duo deserved to live

At the beginning of this week I started to write about a completely different subject matter, but with the executions of two of our own citizens, I felt that this is something that I simply can't ignore.

I've mentioned before about the study behind capital punishment and how the theories have become obsolete as we find better ways to manage the prevention of further offences occurring.

What I want to talk about is the humanitarian aspect of this particular case. Over the course of ten years these two criminals have been given an opportunity to show rehabilitation and prove their remorse for their actions. They are and will always be criminals for what they did ten years ago, but what they chose to do with themselves after their convictions is what really matters in this abhorrent outcome. They could have continued to turn their backs on society and remain a faceless name in the Indonesian prison system, but instead they began a long and drawn out process of righting the wrong that they had caused in their life. Whatever caused their drive to change, they both did so in the most extreme and positive way possible.

Are you still the person you were ten years ago? If you were given the opportunity to change the course of your mistakes, would you?

They attempted to smuggle heroin into our country, no one is denying the severity in their actions. This is a drug I had to deal with regularly in the police force. I once spent forty minutes of my life resuscitating a heroin user who overdosed, only to have that person pass away three months later from another overdose. Do I blame the user in that scenario or the person who supplied that drug in the first place?

Do we blame publicans for deaths caused by alcohol, or alcohol fuelled violence? Do we blame the tobacconists for supplying the cigarettes that are proven to cause terminal cancers?

The impact on the community if Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were to succeed in their attempt would not have been their objective. It was purely for their own financial gain.

Behind the interception of these drug smugglers, countless more made their way to our shores. Will these deaths stop drugs being smuggled from Indonesia? Did their deaths stop heroin addicts from using?

At the end of the day these two men made a choice to break the law in a country that issues the death penalty, just like users choose to take drugs, which may also serve a sentence of death. But is it right to still punish those who choose a different path after rehabilitation? Whether it be from drugs or crime, if reform is proven then surely we can show mercy on that person?

This only highlights the failed judicial process of the Indonesian government. If their system worked successfully, these prisoners would have been executed within the in first few years of their sentencing.

Was it our place to get involved in a foreign country's strict penalties? Absolutely. They were our citizens and it is our obligation to take every necessary step in ensuring their lives are spared.

None of us are above making mistakes. Some mistakes carry a greater consequence than others. The biggest mistake in this matter is that these men were given ten years to change themselves, only to have it taken in the cruellest of ways. You have to ask yourself, what was the point of it all?

Topics:  bali 9 execution opinion t.j. hamilton tj hamilton

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