Bali Nine Drug Smugglers Try to Use Their Religion to Escape Death Penalty

Two Australian Muslim drug traffickers are appealing to the Indonesian court by asking for mercy in the name of their religion.

The two men, convicted of smuggling large amounts of heroin into Indonesia as part of the Bali Nine group, face death by firing squad in Indonesia.

Court was adjourned today and will not be in session again until next week, after a key witness was a no-show for today’s testimony. He was teaching at a local university.

The nation’s crackdown on drug charges has led them to take all attempts to smuggle drugs seriously, escalating the charges and punishments for such crimes. With the execution date for Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan looming in the near future, Muslim clerics from their home nation of Australia are pleading for mercy on their behalf.

Repentance For Their Crimes

Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, has appealed directly to the Indonesian courts for a level of mercy to be used in the case of the Bali Nine ringleaders. He is appealing to their common religion, Islam, as a reason for not executing the men. According to Dr. Abu Mohamed, forgiveness and repentance are at the heart of Islam. Therefore, the men should be given the chance to make up for their crimes rather than be punished. As Dr. Abu Mohamed put it, “We urge that the heritage of mercy in our religion is fully and deeply considered in the application of State Law”. After all, execution punishes the individual and not the crime that they have committed.

Indonesia’s Response

Even though there are common religious grounds between the individuals involved in the Bali Nine case and the Indonesian government that is trying them, they insist that there is little to be done about their case. The religious affairs minister for Indonesia, Lukman Saifuddin insisted that forgiveness in the eyes of religion and in the eyes of the state are two separate things in their court system. Even though the Bali Nine leaders may feel repentant for their actions, they are still liable for breaking the strict laws on drug smuggling in the nation of Indonesia.

As it stands at present, the appeal for the two men to be released has been adjourned by the judge in charge of the case. The court says that they do not have the authority to challenge the state laws in such a case, even though the laws are strict. In Indonesia, individuals can be sentenced to death for making or importing any more than five grams of particular controlled substances including heroin, marijuana, cocaine and opium.


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