One in four.

In a few weeks time it’s likely that the Indonesians found guilty of the 2002 bombing at Paddy’s Bar in Kuta, Bali will be executed.

The ‘favoured’ method of execution in Indonesia is shooting. The condemned is taken at midnight to a deserted location where he (or she) is tied to a stake and blindfolded. The execution squad marches out, a priest, or other religico, offers what succour they can, the command is given, and the guns fire.

The assumption in the West at least has been that all but one of the members of the death squad are given live ammunition… so that they can never be *sure* they fired the fatal shot. In Indonesia this is not the case.

Irish born priest Father Charlie Burrows, has given a graphic version of the execution process that is at odds both with our understanding of the process, and the results. The story was published in The Daily Telegraph and makes pretty unpleasant reading.

The execution he attended was of two Nigerian drug couriers and in his account they took a full seven minutes to die moaning and writhing until they eventually bled to death. The death squad sttod by clearly unsure what they should do.

He tells us that the death squad is made up of twelve men, but only three of them carry rifles loaded with live ammunition. If the accuracy of those three is less than perfect then death is not instantaneous, and the soldiers are obviously under great stress themselves, so their accuracy is almost certain to be ‘off’.

Do these people deserve death? I’m no supporter of the death penalty even for the Bali Bombers who killed 202 people and wounded a further 209, Muslims, Christians, Indonesians and Foreigners alike… but if a death penalty *must* be invoked to satisfy whatever local laws are in place then surely the least you could ask for is a clean quick death or you reduce yourself to the level of the people you are punishing!?!

I understood the ‘rules’ of firing squads dictated that in the event of a ‘misfire’ that simply wounded the condemned the overseeing officer was duty bound to approach the wounded person and administer a coup de grace to end their suffering. In Indonesia it seems this part of the process doesn’t exist and the wounded person is simply left.

What happens if they are simply given non-life-threatening wounds I don’t know, but I’d assume they would be hauled up against the post once again and given another volley. Regardless, of the end result, it appears that at Indonesian firing squads, there is just a one in four chance of being hit let alone killed outright.

Conditions of life and death in Indonesia are worse than I’d thought.


2 thoughts on “One in four.

  1. Hmmmmm…..difficult.

    When considering how their victims died (in agony one would suppose either via burning or through body parts being torn off) don’t the guilty deserve to die in the same way..?

    Another example, Paeodophiles who rape and kill thier victims, don’t they deserve the worst sort of death.

    This is a really difficult Q. The only reason I feel compassion comes into it is when the ‘just in case justice has not prevailed’ question is raised.

    Was watching a programme on the Middle Ages where boiling people to death was popular..!

  2. One of my fundamental beliefs is that humans differ from other animals only in their ability to be ‘self-conscious’ and the thing that sets us apart is what makes us special.

    It’s so easy to destroy a mind … but once destroyed it’s impossible to recreate it. Taking life and destroying a mind isn’t something to be taken lightly and wherever possible shouldn’t be done at all… unless it’s your own!

    My credo is that because all humans are special we all deserve choice when it comes to our own life or death. The fact someone has, themselves killed another doesn’t change this belief one bit.

    It’s why I belief in voluntary euthanasia, and why I’m in principle against both capital punishment and abortion. The first gives choice to whereas both the latter deny it.

    My argument against the death penalty has as you pointed out, always revolved around the possibility of killing the wrong person, but this other argument underpins everything else.

    Bizarre as it might sound, I’ve always been concerned that this thin veneer of civilisation we abide by as we live together might one day fracture and break leaving us all vulnerable to a ‘survival of the fittest’ way of life. Taking that into account you can see why I’m concerned that if we allow ourselves to descend to the level of the people we condemn we leave ourselves open to the claim that we are no better than them.

    Of course you could answer with ‘So?” and I’d just refer you back to the preceding paragraph. 🙂

    As for abortion.. again it’s to do with ‘choice’. Not the choice of the female, but the choice of the foetus being killed. Most people say that the woman should have the right to choose what happens to her body. which is fair enough. I just think taking a few months out of your life to allow another being to exist isn’t that big an ask really.

    For me at least none of this is difficult, though I admit it used to be. Now I hope that if the situation should ever arise I’d hold onto my beliefs and not ask for the death penalty… nor (I hope) would anyone ask for it if I was killed unlawfully.

    We all die too soon as it is.

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