Fate of Two Australian on Death Row in Bali May be Linked to a Balinese Man Awaiting Execution for the 2008 Murder of a Family in East Bali.
Former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (SBY) left a large amount of unfinished business on his desk to be addressed by newly elected President Joko Widodo. Among those items sitting infinished in the “Presidential In-Box” are formal requests to grant clemency to Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan – the two members of the infamous “Bali Nine” caught trying to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin into Australia from Bali and subsequently sentenced to death before an Indonesian firing squad.
With every avenue of legal appeal now exhausted, Sukumaran and Chan’s last chance for life is a Presidential remission of their death sentence to life in prison or to a fixed term of punishment. A formal application has been filed with the President who must, under Indonesian law, formally grant or reject the request. Only with a formal rejection of the request for remission in hand can the execution of the two drug smugglers proceed.
SBY’s failure to respond to the request for a remission means it is now left to President Joko Widodo to respond by granting the request for leniency or affirming that the execution of the two Australians can go ahead. The President can also follow the example set by SBY and choose to do nothing; leaving the two men to languish on death row during the entire term of his presidency. In a separate and morbidly-related case, the fate of I Putu Suaka, a 56-year-old Balinese man sitting on death row convicted of killing a policeman from the Karangasem Police Precinct, the policeman’s wife, child and a nephew on January 29, 2008 may determine the the ultimate fate of Chan and Sukumaran.
The premeditation and cruel circumstances of the murder of two adults and two children by Suaka conforms in every way to the requirements set down under Indonesian law for the imposition of a death sentence. Moreover, public sentiment remains strong in Karangasem, where the murders occured, supporting the execution of the man who killed Komang Alit Srinatha and his young family. Suaka’s lawyer filed a formal application with the Presidential Palace for a remission on February 28, 2013. It’s anyone guess if President Joko Widodo will clear the way for the execution of Suaka or leave him on death row for Indonesia’s next president to deal with in 5 or 10 year’s time.
Loose logic suggests that “Bali Nine” members Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan would not jump the queue and be executed before Suaka. It is also something of a “given” that were Suaka granted a remission in sentence, then the two Australians might necessarily follow suit and be granted remissions to a life behind bars. If, however, the execution of Suaka proceeds then all bets are off the table on what lies in ahead for the two Australians.
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