The Bali 9 case is a good example. There are several things about the case that are disturbing in other ways.
- I recognize that travelers are subject to the laws of foreign countries they travel to, as repellent as those laws may be. However, it appears that it was the Australian authorities who tipped off the Indonesians to the attempted heroin smuggling in the first place. That would seem to me to make extradition of the Australian citizens appropriate. And it is official Australian policy not to give evidence or information that will result in someone receiving the death penalty.
- The death sentences against Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were the first death sentences ever handed down by the Denpasar District Court.
- The other 7 of the Bali 9 got lengthy sentences - life, for some, 20 years for others. The argument was that they were just couriers and Chan and Sukumaran were the ringleaders. However, there was a lot of evidence that involved a larger syndicate.
- There are apparently some questions about whether there might have been bribery involved in their trials with a report that there was going to be another investigation into those charges in mid-May. Now that Chan and Sukumaran have been executed, I doubt that will go forward.
- The other people executed today (also for drug trafficking) were 4 Nigerians (Raheem Salami, Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise, Okwudil Oyatanze, and Martin Anderson, who had been misidentified as Ghanain in earlier news stories), a Brazilian (Rodrigo Gularte), and an Indonesian (Zainal Abidin). Nobody is saying very much about them, but I think it is important to note that they, too, had stories. Mary Jane Veloso of the Philippines appears to have been spared for now, as her alleged recruiters turned themselves in, which sounds pretty fishy to me. There is also apparently a Frenchman, Serge Atlaoui, who is also on death row, but whose legal challenges are being heard.
Yes, drug trafficking is a horrible crime. But it is not murder.
I'm not entirely opposed to capital punishment. I think it is appropriate in well-proven cases of intentional murder. For example, Timothy McVeigh's execution gave me fairly few qualms. I have a lot more qualms about adequacy of proof, particularly because there is good evidence that many innocent people have been executed. The Sanhedrin said that a court that applied the death penalty once in a hundred years was a court of murderers.