Their Murder Seems Imminent

What can I say about the imminent deaths of two former drug smugglers who have cleary turned their lives around since they were sentenced years ago?

Pastor Andrew Chan is one of two Australians whose execution in Indonesia is imminent. About 10 years ago Chan was found guilty of helping organise the export of heroin from Indonesia to Australia. He was found to be the leader of a group afterwards known as the Bali 9, who were picked up at the airport as they were about to board a plane to Australia, They all had significant amounts of heroin bound to their bodies.

Chan and a co-organiser Myuran Sukamaran were given the death penalty while the others had lengthy prison sentences.

Since that time Chan became a follower of Jesus and trained to be a Pastor to fellow inmates within the jail. Sukamaran turned to art and has been studying for a fine arts degree through an Australian university. Within the jail he has run art classes for current and former inmates.

There is absolutely no doubt that both men have turned their lives around and have become valuable assets to the jail that has been their home for a decade, helping to change the lives of other inmates just as they turned their own lives around.

But recently Indonesia changed its President and he’s been trying to show his authority by coming down hard on those found guilty of drug crimes – irrespective of any demonstrated rehabilitation.
Now after ten years, the new President has demanded that the 10 year old death sentences be carried out. It seems that will happen some time this week.

For more details of the current situation see the following:

The Indonesian President, who demands the death of these men.

The Indonesian President, who demands the death of these men.

23 thoughts on “Their Murder Seems Imminent

  1. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the death penalty for drugs unless there was direct violence involved.

    And it’s certainly weird that people are being treated differently in the same country.

    Did I see things right? That was the president of Indonesia wearing some ridiculous tee shirt?

  2. Politicians, of any stripe, always seem willing to make their reputation by being “tough on crime.” But I have to think in this case too that the President of Indonesia, being Muslim, doesn’t have the mindset of repentance and forgiveness that is central in Christ’s faith.

    Of course, “Christian” politicians often don’t have “the mind that is in Christ” either. George W. Bush, when Governor of Texas, O.K.ed the execution of a woman named Carla Fay Tucker (first woman executed in Texas since 1863, so the case was much better publicized than any of the hundreds of men Texas has executed in the last 40 years). Even my “conservative” friends agreed that Tucker had radically repented, and become a powerful witness for Christ during her 14 years in prison.

    No matter. Bush signed off on her execution, and checked off the “tough on crime” box he’d need on his resume to run for President.

    The rule-of-thumb I’ve heard, and believe, is that “the rule of law” means weighing together the demands of justice, and the principle of mercy. In that regard, judges rightly exercise God’s delegated judicial authority: and I’m personally aware of many who so operate. But politicians (especially “conservative” ones, to my observation) usually seem more in the mold of the Pharisees and scribes who drug the adultress to Jesus…men in whom there is no mercy. (John 8)

  3. So you rightly call these impending Indonesian executions “murder.” “Judicial” murder, contrary the rule of law: and more importantly, contrary God’s delegated judicial authority. By such executions, judges and politicians show themselves men of LAWLESSNESS, in the spirit of the enemy (II Thessalonians 2).

  4. Becoming President in a nation (or Governor of a state) where the death penalty remains in force is the PERFECT occupation for someone with the mind of a serial killer. The murder of all of their victims is state sanctioned – so the serail killer has access to the perfect killing method without any legal repercussions.

  5. Very true, Tim. And for the the less politically-ambitious with the desire to murder, there’s always the military. Your country, or “ummah” (faith community), or facebook friends, or whoever, gives you moral absolution to kill: and honors you for murdering people they deem SHOULD be killed. (As if we can abdicate our moral responsibility to someone else’ direction.)

    That’s very much what’s being pushed in our faces by the movie “American Sniper,” beloved of America’s conservative “patriotic,” gun-rights military-adoring faction. In any other estimation, the movie’s “hero” would have to be characterized as you say, as a serial murderer. (He was also convicted in federal court of lies and slander in his autobiography. Exactly in the character Jesus ascribed to satan in John 8:44, a murderer and liar.)

    If death is the ultimate judicial penalty, maybe Jesus’ words “judge not, lest you be judged” apply to our decision whom we should kill. He also said that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. (A truth of the “American Sniper’s” story soft-pedaled by the movie’s director.)

  6. I saw that movie, and I just thought how horrible it was. Just all horrible. So, when people were saying the next day that it was propaganda, I was like, “What?” It was just horrible.

    Now, as it turns out, there are elements of propaganda because some of the things in the movie aren’t true, some major aspects. Still, the overall effect is… “Yuck.” Who wants to be like that?

  7. Very true, Marleen. The people we “want to be like,” our “heroes,” reveals what’s in our hearts. Do we want to be like a millionaire, a teacher, a killer, a movie star ? It tells a great deal about what our heart most deeply desires, and goes a long way toward determining how we decide “the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

  8. The “War on drugs” is a miserable failure and harms nobody but the poor.

    The rich president of Indonesia flashing his satanic goat horn signs likely indulges in exactly what he is demanding death from others for!

    May The Lord stand with these men and send His angels to comfort them until the end.

    These two links concern a cop who was chosen to do what the “war on terror” was apparently about following 9/11.

    This one is about contractors (corporate) coming in to change what was normal protocol for Army interrogators.

    These two are comments on the torture report with people of some expertise and experience.

    This one is about domestic terrorism (and awareness/denial… and readiness… or no).

  10. Yes, they love their “contractors”

    Spares having to answer for violations of the Geneva Convention committed by regular soldiers…..

    Meanwhile, the US has just announced it will extend it’s stay in Afghanistan to guard the poppy fields the heroin came from that Indonesia is executing these men for,

    Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium

  11. Since America caused the instability in Afghanistan they can’t really afford to abandon it like they did the mess they created in Iraq – to do so would open the door for the further spread of ISIS.

    However all of this has nothing to do with the impending murders in Indonesia.

  12. I hope someone is bringing an argument, in court and so on (including to general understanding), that the inconsistency on top of the sense of inhumanity shouldn’t stand.

  13. There have been countless appeals: all have failed.
    The latest news I’ve heard is that three Indonesian murderers have been removed from the execution schedule and more who were convicted of drug crimes have been added: all non-Indonesians.

  14. That’s so ridiculous (sorry, I don’t think it would matter what word I use there as none would be up to how outrageous it is). For the record, I’m not a hundred percent against the death penalty. But it is too often (probably even usually) not enacted justly and well on the whole (which is not to say it’s never carried out justly). Of course, I have absolutely no familiarity with how things usually go in Indonesia. As Un.Prof.Serv. suggested, it’s not like drugs are completely anathema to current legal society, so WHY this heightened state of vigilance toward drug offenders (foreign ones most especially) and NOT murderers? I see two outcomes and possible goals (not that three couldn’t be more and not that both are consciously sought by all involved): more violence [and not only due to going easy on murderers but also for not valuing a positive member of a prison community] or degraded attitudes, and, two, protection of the legal drug trade (which includes money for particular interests/people). It would be fine to favor a regulated use of anything so potent as heroin, but the motives don’t hold up.

  15. One of the big problems I see with the death penalty is that the executions (as in this case) are usually carried out many years after the crime.

    How many of us can say that we are exactly the same people we were 10 years ago? Things we may have done then may be abhorrent to us now: and they’re not necessarily illegal things, or things that would be condemned by society.

    With the two Australians it is clear that they’ve turned their lives completely around and they are not who they were when they committed their crimes. They have become very valuable and productive members of the prison community, helping to rehabilitate others serving time in the jail.

    If there was any validity to their death penalty, they should have been executed 10 years ago BEFORE their lives were changed.

  16. Murderers (first degree and worse) and extreme violent offenders often wait on death for years, and decades. I don’t think time going by is enough of an argument (and I don’t think I would ever see it as murder to put someone to death after a proper legal process). And, no, I don’t think we need to be in such a hurry there is no time for repentance — although I do think decades is excessive and I do agree the matter with these men seems very weird.

  17. I should amend what I just said. In the U.S., people are often appealing their cases to try to get verdicts or decisions overturned. They are afforded a set of opportunities. There are some who have been able to prove they didn’t do what they’ve been imprisoned for (or even on death row for). Accusers/systems in the past have been so sure that these appeals were not allowed. And if we think there is only validity in haste then we won’t really even have time for trials. A lot of people argue such a thing in effect anyway (not realizing it) when they assume anything a police officer does is right. It must have been right to kill the guy.

  18. [Obviously: if someone lies in court and a death decision depends on witnesses, such a liar is a murderer.]

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