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PM - Bali bombers' execution raises questions over death penalty 

[This is the print version of story] 

PM - Monday, 3 November , 2008  18:34:00
Reporter: Brigid Glanville
MARK BANNERMAN: As the three Bali bombers wait for their execution, the debate 
over the death penalty is once again an issue. 

For victims of the bombing and their families it's a day they've been waiting 
for, a chance to see justice to convicted killers.

human rights advocates claim the Bali bombers should not be killed and
suggest Australians should oppose the death penalty in all situations.

Brigid Glanville reports.

GLANVILLE: Gold Coast real estate agent Glenn Cosman was at the door of
the Sari Club in Bali in 2002 when a bomb went off. His two friends who
were also there survived, but both of them lost limbs. Glenn Cosman
says he believes the Bali bombers deserve the death penalty.

COSMAN: I'm happy for it to happen, absolutely. They certainly deserve
what they're getting and I think it's justice for the crime.

know I heard recently a Member of Parliament I think in Western
Australia stood up and she said she didn't, you know, want them to have
the death penalty. I think it's people just trying to put their names
out there in the public really. It's none of their business and they
should get out of it.

Glenn Cosman says he can understand people not believing in the death penalty, 
but not when it comes to mass murderers.

COSMAN: I can certainly see why when the death penalty here and the
last few people that were put to death there was some ambiguity in
their sentencing and their guilt. But there is absolutely no ambiguity
in the guilt of the three Bali bombers. They're certainly guilty.
They've admitted to it and they're proud of it, which is a very sad

I certainly went over to Indonesia and saw the trials
and saw the processes over there and you know, one of them that was on
trial the day I was there was actually remorseful and very sorry for
his actions. And I certainly you know don't mind him not getting the
death penalty. 

But these guys aren't remorseful and certainly
don't regret their actions. And I think they'd do it again if they got
out tomorrow so really, they really should be put to death because
they're not going to be reformed.

BRIGID GLANVILLE: Chris Sidoti from the Human Rights Council of Australia 

SIDOTI: Well human rights are universal values and human dignity
applies to all human beings. At a most practical element, practical
level, there just seems to be no point in making martyrs out of
murderers, and so that's the first thing that needs to be said. 

we need to move beyond that kind of pragmatic approach that says we are
not going to make martyrs out of these mass murderers, to saying that
there are values about human life and human dignity that we as a nation
have traditionally upheld and we should uphold now.

lives are no less valuable than Australian lives and if we are
interested in protecting Australian lives we must be consistent. We
must say that all human life is important.

international law expert from the Australian National University in
Canberra professor Don Rothwell, says when it comes to the Bali bombers
people often have double standards.

He says the former Howard
government took the stance that if an Australian such as one of the
Bali nine were facing the death penalty it would oppose such a move,
but it didn't have a problem with the Bali bombers being executed.

Professor Rothwell wants the Rudd Government to make it clear it doesn't 
support the death penalty for anyone.

ROTHWELL: Well the first thing is that they have to be very careful in
terms of the way that they choose their language. Secondly they need to
be cautious about not in any way engaging in megaphone diplomacy with
Indonesia. I think that's the last way in which progress is made with
Indonesia on matters such as this. 

The Rudd Government has
indicated that there have been already bilateral ministerial
discussions in which Rudd Government ministers have been making their
positions known on the death penalty and no doubt that dialogue will
continue as long as Australians are on death row in Indonesia.

I think that the Government also needs to be introducing a strong human
rights dimension into that debate and the fact that Indonesia is a
party to the international covenant on civil and political rights
certainly allows for that dialogue to be developed.

GLANVILLE: Professor Rothwell also says if the Government is lobbying
Indonesia to get rid of the death penalty it should also be lobbying
the United States and China on the same issue.

MARK BANNERMAN: Brigid Glanville reporting.

© 2008 Australian Broadcasting Corporation
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