Thursday, February 18, 2010

Australia and Conspiracy

Australia and Conspiracy

For more flavor please also examine The Influence of the neo-cons, Specifically Prejudice and Bigotry in the Climate Change Debate.

Bali executions bad for Rudd, says embassy


February 18, 2010


(clockwise from top) Myuran Sulumaran, Scott Rush and Andrew Chan.

AUSTRALIAN embassy officials in Jakarta have told Indonesian authorities the possible executions of three of the Bali Nine is a highly sensitive issue for the Rudd government in an election year.

The representation was made by the embassy's political counsellor, Paul Griffiths, and comes as the three Australians, Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, prepare their final appeals against the death sentence.

If the appeals - known as a judicial review - fail, the only way for the three drug smugglers to avoid a firing squad is a direct plea for clemency to the President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Mr Griffiths and a colleague, Emily Street, met officials at the Indonesian attorney-general's office on Tuesday.

''They told us that it was a sensitive political issue ahead of the election,'' Didiek Darmanto, a spokesman for the attorney-general, told the Herald.

The talks also canvassed the extradition from Australia of an Indonesian corruption suspect, Adrian Kiki, who was arrested in Perth in 2008.

At least one Indonesian media outlet interpreted the meeting as the Rudd government tying Mr Kiki's extradition to the fate of the three Australians.

However, Mr Darmanto said he did not regard the representations by the Australian diplomats as improper.

Asked if Mr Griffiths directly urged that the trio not be executed for political reasons this year, Mr Darmanto said, ''No''.

''It was a courtesy meeting ,'' he said. ''It was not about intervening. They wanted to get information about how the Indonesian legal system worked.''

Mr Darmanto, who attended the meeting, said Mr Griffiths also asked to be informed of any developments involving the three Australians in a timely fashion, presumably to avoid the embarrassing situation that occurred in 2006.

Then, the Herald learnt before the embassy that an appeal by some of the Bali Nine for their life sentences to be reduced had failed. Instead the sentences were increased to the death penalty.

Since the Nine's arrests in April 2005, the governments of John Howard and Kevin Rudd have been quietly trying to ensure the death penalty is not carried out.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman played down the meeting as a ''getting to know you'' courtesy call.


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