The Death Penalty



I don’t care that 8 of the 9 executed by Indonesia in the last 24 hours smuggled drugs.

I don’t see punishment as a meaningful tool in the war on drugs any longer, demand drives drug use and supply never shuts because of punishment.

Indonesia’s political class carried out the executions for local populism, not because of public health or law and order concerns.

Past the outright corruption of the Indonesian law system, beyond the pointlessness of ineffective drug enforcement is the simple fact that a State in cold blood can end the life of a human being and call that ‘justice’.

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Taking another human life through a court process, no matter how heinous the criminal act, is never Justice. It’s just state sanctioned murder drowning the moral high ground in blood.

No ifs, no buts, no maybes.

The first rule of Justice is mercy, without it there is only empty authority.


  1. Well said. For me the main reason I oppose the death penalty is the possibility of the person being innocent, once they are killed it cannot be taken back.

  2. Anyone going into Indonesia has been warned against carrying drugs and it is a death penalty if you dare, this is broadcasted on board of each plane landing on Indonesia soil. This is a macro contract and if one persist, when they are caught the consequences is death! They have been warned as adults. Even more for those who tried to profit, they deserve it even more.

    I empathise with those who are in the death row as when they dealt with drugs, it was their death wish. Why regret now? Drugs destroy the infrastructure of societies and communities. These traffickers are the major problems to our society and community and if each time they managed to snick drugs into our community, it is like piercing a stick into our heart, many will suffer in every aspect especially families. What rights have these traffickers got to destroy people by pushing illegal substances? If all traffickers are weed out, there will be no more drugs and this type of sufferings will be of the past. This is how we wish for, let’s try to make it happen.

    Indonesia is facing an epidemic in drug abuse among young people. I may not agree with capital punishment, I agree with the old say, “an eye for eye”. Many have died using drugs. These traffickers are the killers. They should also be punishable by death, “you play with fire, you get burn”.

    Repent in their next live perhaps, this life, they have wasted the chance to be good.

    Indonesia has to set examples to all tourists arriving into the country. If the President seem to be too soft to let one trafficker go, he must let all go and Indonesia will be back to square one, “death to its society with drugs”. There will never be an end to stopping drug trafficking.

      • At a loss as to why Wensleydale got negative votes!

        Someone killing someone for killing someone simply makes that someone a killer too. No one is saved, no moral high ground, no less vicious. And what say that someone accused was innocent, then what?

  3. Quite right Martyn. It IS state sanctioned murder and there is no crime that justifies it. What makes this case particularly offensive is that the “justice system” that gave it out is so grotesquely corrupt.

  4. I agree, Martyn, capital punishment is barbaric and takes us down to the level of those who States execute.

    Worse still, there are new victims from state executions, who are the greiving families left behind. These are families who are innocent of whatever crimes may’ve been committed by the convicted, but they are given a sentence of suffering as well.

    There is no justice here, only revenge and retribution. Not exactly a sound basis for justice.

  5. Much more eloquently than I can find the words for

    “The death penalty is wrong. It is inhuman. It is degrading. It is an atavist relict of a pre-civilized past in which justice was dispensed with a sword, to avenge, never to prevent. To kill, not to heal. The death penalty does not deter violence. It perpetuates it. It does not do justice, it denies it. The death penalty violates human rights, in a ruthless, absolute and irreversible manner.”

    Lord Russell-Johnston, British President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe 2001

    “For centuries the death penalty, often accompanied by barbarous refinements, has been trying to hold crime in check; yet crime persists. Why? Because the instincts that are warring in man are not, as the law claims, constant forces in a state of equilibrium.”

    Albert Camus

    “Our criminal justice system is fallible. We know it, even though we don’t like to admit it. It is fallible despite the best efforts of most within it to do justice. And this fallibility is, at the end of the day, the most compelling, persuasive, and winning argument against a death penalty.”

    Albert Spitzer

    “Imposition of the death penalty is arbitrary and capricious. Decision of who will live and who will die for his crime turns less on the nature of the offense and the incorrigibility of the offender and more on inappropriate and indefensible considerations: the political and personal inclinations of prosecutors; the defendant’s wealth, race and intellect; the race and economic status of the victim; the quality of the defendant’s counsel; and the resources allocated to defense lawyers.”

    -Gerald Heaney, former appellate judge

  6. Well put. I object to the death penalty for the quite elementary reason that two wrongs don’t make a right. Killing as a punishment for killing is both illogical and immoral. The relative guilt or innocence of the person is irrelevant.

  7. “The first rule of Justice is mercy,”

    I might have thought it was Justice.

    You can take any high ground you like on this but they have sovereign rights to impose any laws and penalties that they see cultural fit and proper, regardless of how inhumane or weird or improper they are to you.

    Your outrage does not over-ride their laws.


    • It may well not over ride their laws but you can’t say that people should not be outraged by it.

  8. Most countries that still employ the death penalty do not view mercy as anything other than weakness. Mercy as we know it, came to us via the teachings of the person known as Jesus Christ (I’d contest that as the person’s name but that’s another topic) and most of the countries in that cartoon have not had a basis in those teachings.
    The death penalty is barbaric and only degrees of barbarism apply. Indonesia this last week, murdered 8 people for political expediency and for maximum shirt front impact with Australia.
    This week we also had John Key stating when addressing how he could on one hand send people to help in the fight against IS because of public beheadings then turn around and schmooze around the Saudis in spite of public beheadings, then brushed it aside by saying it was different because its official in Saudi Arabia. I actually felt physically sick to my stomach when he said that.
    Yes, of course don’t try to carry drugs into Indonesia, but that does not mean you think they are justified in shooting people.
    And as for China???? Apparently they blow away about 4 people a day, mostly for “economic” crimes but seriously anyone with a fraction of a brain knows its bloody political.
    And that is where I am in two minds about the drive from China to have “criminals” sent back to them. On one hand I absolutely think that this whole business of buying your way into NZ should not exist, but on the other I am not of a mind to be complicit in sending anyone back to possibly face a firing squad there.
    As for the States, where to start with them, Christianity is very prevalent but they don’t seem in many parts to have learned about mercy, although I do wonder if their reluctance to get rid of the death penalty is based more on racism than anything else.

  9. Of course this wouldn’t have happened if the AFP didn’t grass them up. Don’t think we will ever know the truth about why the plods did it when they could have easily arrested them in Sydney.

    While it’s easy to have sympathy for these two men, I have more of a problem with those indivuals in India who brutalised and murdered that poor woman on the bus.

    Unbelivably they still defend their right to abuse, rape and kill women. In their crazy world women who leave home after dark deserve to be murdered.

  10. The one I do feel sorry for is the grandmother who was duped by some dating site to go to Malaysia, where the death penalty applies. She was taking the bag for the person she was meeting apparently which had a secret pocket stitched inside it. Gullible, stupid maybe, but very likely innocent and without intent. lf there is any justice at all, there will be just as much protest and public outcry over this

  11. At times one reads of the most evil things being done. The recent setting fire to man for money, the beheadings by the ISIL fanatics and many other actions makes one think exterminate the vermin.
    However Martyn is absolutely correct, except in self defence, society must eschew capital punishment. By doing so it lifts our societies ethos above the evil of the murderous, the fanatical, the cruel.

    • Cannot agree. There is a time,place and circumstance where it is justified. But I appreciate I am in the minority, certainly on this site, just saying.

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