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Selasa, 17 Februari 2015

Bali Nine: Indonesia denies Bishop's claim of death penalty double standards

Indonesian foreign ministry criticises Australia for not acting sooner to protect its citizens, instead waiting until after a court decision had been made

Indonesia has rejected Australia’s allegations of a double standard on the death penalty, and taken a veiled swipe at the Australian government’s late interest in saving its citizen​s’ lives.
Indonesia appears committed to carrying out the executions of convicted drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, announcing the pair would be moved from Bali to Nusa​ Kambangan, south of Java – where they are to be shot – sometime this week.
​Public and political opposition in Australia to their executions has grown recently.
Australia has argued Indonesia’s position on the death penalty is inconsistent, pleading with foreign governments to have its own citizens spared, while intransigent about carrying out executions of foreign nationals on its soil.
The Australian foreign minister, Julie Bishop, told ABC radio: “If Indonesia opposes the death penalty for their citizens in the Middle East … I would hope the Indonesian ​government would show the same mercy to Australian citizens as they are demanding other nations show their citizens”.
“We don’t bring the issue of bilateralisation when we try to assist our citizens who are facing the same predicament abroad. We assist them from the very beginning. We ensure they get all access to the legal system to make sure they get a fair trial from the very beginning. That’s how we protect our citizens abroad.”
Chan and Sukumaran were arrested in 2005 ​for their involvement in the so-called Bali ​Nine heroin smuggling ring. They have been in prison since.
“If countries were serious about ensuring the protection of their own citizens, they should have done it from the very beginning,” Nasir said. “And not at the last stage when the decision has been taken by the courts. This was not a political decision, it was the court’s decision to hand out the death penalty.”
Indonesia ​appears unworried by the threat of an Australian tourist boycott, with government ministers saying they ​were confident Australians ​would still visit the holiday island of Bali in massive numbers. ​The country is even withdrawing the planned offer of visa-free entry for Australians.
Bishop said the execution of the pair – who have been found by Indonesian prison authorities to have been comprehensively rehabilitated and reformed – could cause a boycott of Indonesia, and Bali in particular, by Australians.
“I think the Australian people will demonstrate their deep disapproval of this action, including by making decisions about where they wish to holiday,” she said.
But Indonesia’s tourism minister, Arief Yahya, told the Jakarta Globe on Monday he was certain Australians would continue to visit​.
“Tourism is a people-to-people business, not government-to-government. It’s like if two parents were arguing with each other, the kids would still play together anyway,” Arief said at the presidential Bogor Palace.
Arief said the number of Australian tourists visiting Indonesia had not declined since Australian concern over the imminent executions escalated.
“There have been ​1 million tourists from Australia [last year]. We are targeting 1.2 million this year.”
The foreign ​affairs ​minister, Retno ​Marsudi, appeared similarly unconcerned, particularly by the idea of a government-led effort to deter Australians from Bali.
“I don’t know how the Australian government intends to prevent its people from going to a place. How would they do it? The people decide for themselves where to go for holiday,” ​ she said.
“We understand the Australians’ concern but they have to understand our policy as well. I think the Australian people will be wise on deciding their holiday destination.”
In addition, Indonesia will reportedly withdraw its offer of visa-free travel for Australian tourists after Australia failed to reciprocate the offer to Indonesian nationals,​ Arief confirmed.
Five countries — Australia, Japan, China, South Korea and Russia — were offered a visa waiver by Indonesia in November last year as an encouragement for foreign tourists to visit.
Arief said on Monday Australia would now not be included. “Indonesia offers visa-free travel to countries that can offer us the same things: Australia requires a visa for every foreign tourist to enter the country, that means they won’t ever offer Indonesian tourists visa-free travel, even though we offer it to them.”
Arief did not directly link the issue of visas with the ongoing diplomatic ​impasse over the fate of​ Chan and Sukumaran​.
Negotiations are ongoing with other countries – Japan has agreed to the plan – but Arief said there was no chance Australia and Indonesia could reach agreement, and Indonesia did not feel the need to force the issue.
Australian opposition to the impending executions continues to mount. Australia’s six living former ​prime ​ministers have all publicly pleaded for clemency for the pair in the Australian newspaper.
Kevin Rudd said: “As a deep, long-standing friend of Indonesia, I would respectfully request an act of clemency.”
John Howard said: “Mercy being shown in such circumstances would not weaken the deterrent effect of Indonesia’s strong anti-drug laws.”
Malcolm Fraser said: “We are very much opposed to the death penalty in Australia. We face an extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, task if we seek to impose our value system on other countries.”


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