Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bali Bombers And The Death Penalty

Originally posted 1-Nov-2008 at truepolitik.myperspective.org.au

Much of Australia, & other parts of the world, awaits the impending execution of the Bali bombers. Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra remain unrepentant for the 202 innocent people they killed by bomb in 2002. 88 of those were Australian.

Australia has maintined its fundamental opposition to the death penalty, and its policy of non-interference where Australians are not involved. Many Australians, particularly friends, family, community support the death penalty imposed on these three men.

The following arguments are used to justify a death penalty:
  • deterrence: the concept that having such a severe penalty will make criminals think twice before acting.

  • retribution: society’s version of “an eye for an eye”.
It is entirely possible that neither of these is justifiable. I suspect that few criminals consider the likely consequences of their actions. Retribution, or punishment, might satisfy society’s, and individuals’ need fo revenge. Revenge is a very human emotion, often driven by anger. But is an argument driven by heated emotion a valid reason to impose a death penalty?

Nevertheless, with certainty of guilt and extreme effects on society, punishment by death could still be acceptable to some. Others will include the need for “civilized” humanity & the sanctity of human life to argue against the death penalty. I believe that, in cases like this, it is reasonable to argue “death as a penalty”. See also: http://deathpenaltycurriculum.org/teacher/c/about/arguments/contents.htm

So, what’s your position - death penalty or no?