Executed: Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.Journalist and academic Waleed Aly has delivered a passionate condemnation of the treatment of Bali nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, outlining the five ways he believes the pair were let down in the lead-up to their executions in Indonesia this week.
While acknowledging that the former Sydney men were criminals and drug smugglers, Aly said Chan and Sukumaran had been failed by some of the very people meant to protect them.
Among those coming under fire in Aly’s powerful segment on The Project on Wednesday night was Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whose comments about Australia’s aid contributions to Indonesia were seen as a threat in that country, and the Australian Federal Police, who had tipped off the Indonesians about the Bali nine’s arrival in 2005.
“Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were guilty men. They were criminals, they were ringleaders of an operation to smuggle drugs into this country, but they were also let down time and again, right up to their final hours,” Aly said.
Below is Aly’s list of the five ways the Bali nine duo were let down:
1 – The Australian Federal Police tipped off the Indonesian authorities, after receiving information from the father of Bali nine member Scott Rush.
“Lee Rush was trying to protect his son. He did the first thing that many of us would have done; he went to the police. He trusted that the AFP would stop the Bali nine from leaving the country and stop this catastrophe in its tracks.
“Instead the AFP let them leave and told the Indonesians they were coming, knowing that this could end with a bullet put through Andrew and Myuran’s chests. And the AFP have never explained this.”
2 – Alleged corruption in the Indonesian court system
“The judges who would eventually convict them allegedly offered Andrew and Myuran the chance to pay $130,000 to take the death penalty off the table. They should have taken it, they probably would have taken it, but they were let down by an even higher level of corruption.”
That higher level of corruption, Aly said, was when Indonesia’s Attorney-General and Supreme Court allegedly demanded that the pair be put to death, robbing them of a fair trial.
3 – The election of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo as Indonesia’s President
“I’m talking here about hard-line politics, I’m talking about an obsession with being seen to be a tough guy in front of a domestic audience,” Aly said of Mr Joko.
“Jokowi cared more about his image than he did about the facts of the case, or Andrew and Myuran’s rehabilitation. He didn’t even know where the drugs were meant to end up.
Maybe once Jokowi was elected, there was nothing we could have done.”
4 – Tony Abbott’s comments about Australia’s aid to Indonesia
In February, Mr Abbott publicly stated: “Let’s not forget that a few years ago, when Indonesia was struck by the Indian Ocean tsunami, Australia sent a billion dollars worth of assistance.”
Aly said on The Project: “This is a moment that I’m sure Tony Abbott himself regrets. He was just desperately trying to come to Andrew and Myuran’s aid by reminding Indonesia what good friends Australians have been to them in the past. The reminder was taken as a threat by the Indonesians. Our generous aid came with strings attached, and one of those strings was an expectation that Indonesians would bow to political pressure from Australia and show clemency whenever we demanded it.”
5 – Chan and Sukumaran were denied chosen spiritual guides before execution
“The six others who were to be executed alongside them were not denied that right, only Andrew and Myuran were. It was so provocative, it was so pathetic, and so pointless. At the 11th hour, the Indonesians allowed Andrew and Myuran’s guides access to the pair, but by then a final message of disrespect had already been sent.”
Some praised Aly’s commentary, with one person saying it was “measured, hard hitting and unmissable”, while others claimed it was another example of his “anti-Abbott agenda”.
Waleed Aly’s comments hit the nail on the head. Systematic failures and political ego led to the deaths of Chan and Sukumaran #bali— Dave (@Tills086) April 29, 2015
Loving how Waleed Aly is bringing real edge to @theprojecttv : http://t/Lg6wxO9FV5 Measured, hard hitting and unmissable.— Monica Attard (@AttardMon) April 29, 2015
Waleed Aly is the truth dropping saviour our media landscape needs so badly, let’s be honest. #WaleedAly— Stephanie Jones (@stephaniejjones) April 29, 2015#bali9#waleedaly Why do you never praise the PM Walleed? They knew the risk. Your obvious anti Abbott agenda is turning many off theproject— KevinspiresTV (@kevinmcnamara88) April 29, 2015
Chan an Sukumaran let down by Australian Government because they did everything they could??!! Nonsensical diatribe. Get real #WaleedAly— Adam Watson (@aj8watson) April 29, 2015Waleed Aly will take any opportunity to take a cheap shot at Tony and co, the only people that the Bali 9 was let down by was themselves— chels (@chelsbieberxo) April 29, 2015