May 25, 2015

execution in Indonesia

the Bali 9 is a drug smuggling ring of Australian guys who were caught and convicted by Indonesia authorities.  two were sentenced to death by firing squad the rest were sentenced to life.  when i mentioned to an Australian friend in Myanmar that i was traveling to Bali she was telling me how wonderful the island was but cautioned me against was doing drugs.  i had heard of the Bali 9 before but she had a connection to the parents of one the men convicted and sentenced to life in prison.  she was telling me about how they have to pay someone to see after their son for the rest of his life in an Indonesian prision.  food, medicine and other things not provided by the prision.  the caretaker has to constantly buy him matresses as they get nicked quite often.

those convictions were ten years ago and the executions of two Bali 9 happened on the day i left Bali along with six others convicted of drug related crimes.  it has been in the news quite a bit and the topic of conversations among fellow travelers.  even in the US the death penalty is used mostly in violent crimes and i can't imagine a drug smuggler being sentenced to death.

of course, outside the US most western countries are horrified at the idea of a death penalty so the conversations were focused on spending travel dollars in countries that have human rights violations.  the Australians are horified because it was the Australian authorities that tipped the Indonesians about the drug ring knowing that executiion was a possible outcome.

the executions were on a different island so there were not any organized protests on Bali. i did notice an increased police presence but when i asked my taxi driver about it he insisted that the police were cracking down on mushroom sales.

it's a horrible outcome and cautionary tale for all travelers.

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