Political Commentary: The Politics of Execution

execution
ˌɛksɪˈkjuːʃ(ə)n/
noun
  1. 1
    the carrying out of a plan, order, or course of action.
    “he was fascinated by the entire operation and its execution”
    synonyms: implementation, carrying out, accomplishmentperformance, effecting, bringing off, bringing about, achievement, carrying off, carrying through, completionenactmentenforcementdischargeprosecutionengineeringattainmentrealizationfulfilment

    perpetration
    “the execution of the plan”




  2. 2
    the carrying out of a sentence of death on a condemned person.
    “the execution of juveniles is prohibited by international law”
    synonyms: capital punishment, the death penalty, being put to death, killing

    the gibbet, the gallows, the noose, the rope, the scaffold, the guillotine, the firing squad; 
    the (electric) chair; 
    informalthe drop; 
    informalnecktie party
    historicalnoyade


It is a word that disgusts me. In fact, capital punishment of any description disgusts me.

Our two Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were transferred from Kerobokan prison to Nusakambangan island, in a wave of world punlicity yesterday morning,  where they are to be executed by firing squad. There is a huge amount of controversy surrounding these two men, so I will add my two dents worth. But my personal feelings can ge summed ip in a very simple statement – executing people achieves absolutely nothing! (http://www.eaplstudent.com/publications/controversies/does-the-death-penalty-reduce-crime).
And so now, just to prove how absolutely sadistic they are, the conjrctured carrying out of this execution this coming weekend, has been changed yet again with the statement from President Joko Widodo this morning that they might be waiting there on “Execution Island” for yet another week or more! Now try telling me that these two unfortunate men are not being used as a political football! Seems the Indonesian government and “judiciary” want to see just how much begging we will do! 

By no stretch of the imagination can it be ssid thst these two men have had a fair go through the Indonesian judicial system. There was a feeling right from the word go,10 years ago, that evetything involving their trial and sentencing was already preordained. The whole appeal process – if it can be called that – is no better. It would appear that the law is filtered to suit the occasion. They never really stood a chance in the face of stubborn, retaliatory sadism.

There is no denying their crimes. And the societal requirement to punish is justified. They have been in prison in Indonesia for 10 yesrs now, and in any  country where prison terms are the sentence of the court, they would probably be due for release,mor at least paroled. The true grist of this story is not about sentencing but the imposition of a sentence that in any civilised country – disregarding some backward stares in America – is unacceptable.

If the true conclusion of imprisonment is reform and rehabilitation, then the sentence imposed by the Indonesian court has achieved that aim. It could be said – though there is no way we are going to find out – that upon release these rwo men could toddle off to totally accepted and fulfilled lives as beneficial members of society! This being the outcome of their sentence, the question has to be asked – why are they being executed! It is supposedly to set an example – now on the world stage – of what happens when you break the law on this tiny group of islands caloed Indonesia. We tiny islands with big boot! Well, it doesn’t work that way! 

Amnesty International state that there are 5 reasons for abolishing the death penalty:

1. You can’t take it back

The death penalty is irreversible. Absolute judgments may lead to people paying for crimes they did not commit. Texas man Cameron Todd Willingham, for example, was found innocent after his 2004 execution.

2. It doesn’t deter criminals

In fact, evidence startlingly reveals the opposite! Twenty seven years after abolishing the death penalty, Canada saw a 44 per cent drop in murders across the country. And it wasn’t alone.

3. There’s no ‘humane’ way to kill

The 2006 execution of Angel Nieves Diaz, by a so-called ‘humane’ lethal injection, took 34 minutes and required two doses. Other methods of execution used around the world include hanging, shooting and beheading. The nature of these deaths only continues to perpetuate the cycle of violence and does not alleviate the pain already suffered by the victims’ family.

4. It makes a public spectacle of an individual’s death

Executions are often undertaken in an extremely public manner, with public hangings in Iran or live broadcasts of lethal injections in the US.

5. The death penalty is disappearing

Out of 198 countries around the world only 21 continue to use capital punishment. And while countries that carried out executions in 2011 did so at an alarming rate, those employing capital punishment have decreased by more than a third in the last decade. With this clear downward trend, public pressure may help persuade the world’s biggest executors China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the USA to stop.

There are countless arguments for and against the death penalty. In an imperfect world where we can never be sure we have ever got the “worst of the worst” is it ever justified to take a life?

And the answer to that question is……no!

I was watching one of many series I watch on Foxtel, called “The Killing”, which ended by someone – not totally proven guilty – being execured by hanging. Despite knowing it is acted, the whole process was very realistically acted, and quite heart-rending. There are actually people there to witness it happening, and one would think that after withessing such a horrific and barbaric act, one would become a strong advocate against the death penalty. 

If Indonesia think they are big-noting themselves on the world stage, well they are…but not in the right way. They could have exonerated these rwo men, saved their parents and loved ones a world of grief. Indonesia could join the civilised world and eliminate this dreadful punishment all togethet! There is more admiration for humanitarianism than barbarism! After 10 years of imprisonment, there would be a lot less controversy by paroling and releasing them, then alliwing them voluntary access to the prison to continue the rehabilitation programs that they themselves have set in place. Not only would this be seen as just and humane, it would be of continuing benefit to other prisoners.

Much has been said about how they are drug traffickers, and deserve this penalty as it will save lives. What a load of bullshit that is. These two deaths, along with a string of others caught for the same crime in IIndonesia, is not going to save one single, solitary life! A drug addict is a drug addict, and what they can’t get from one person they will get from another! End of story! Perhaps Indonesia needs to look in its own backyard first!

The world is holding its greath, and this is just what Indonesia wants! The end of this story is, I think, inevitable. I would love to be proven wrong!

Tim Alderman

(C) 2015

PS for anyone interested to read a history of capital punushment (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/execution/readings/history.html), and a further interesting article on why the death oenalty is slowly dying in America after a botched lethal injection (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/execution-of-clayton-lockett-and-the-flaws-of-lethal-injection-a-992359.html).

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