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July 2024



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For my Aussie friends and colleagues, who have witnessed the withdrawal of the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia over the execution of two convicted Aussie drug smugglers; you may like to read this article, which reveals that, in essence, successive Australian Governments have not been opposed to such actions when they entered into formal agreements with Indonesia. I quote:

Australia signed eight of them with Indonesia in 1981, and just one in 1984, the year Chan was born. But by the mid 1990s, the pace had increased considerably, with almost 50 signed by 1995.

The most significant of those – and the one that would underpin the relationship between Australian and Indonesian officials for the next two decades – was signed on October 27, 1995. It’s also the one that ultimately signed Chan and Sukumaran’s death warrant.

It’s called the ‘Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters (Republic of Indonesia)’ Treaty, and it formalizes how Australia and Indonesia would work together to tackle trans-national crime, in particular drug trafficking.

It was Australia’s first major crime fighting treaty with Indonesia, and was hailed at the time as a breakthrough in relations between the two countries.

What wasn’t publicly promoted is that while the treaty states that Australia must refuse any request for assistance from Indonesia if we suspect it relates to “prosecuting or punishing [a] person on account of [their] race, sex, religion, nationality or political opinions….”, on the question of capital punishment for drug traffickers, Australia left the door wide open.

So, let’s not be distracted by the public posturing.

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