To err is human, to forgive is divine

April 27, 2015


It’s rare I will write about serious issues on here. I write about my kids, my life and I like to have a light-hearted attitude about it. It’s the way I cope. There are however certain issues I feel strongly about. Very strongly in fact. This is one of them.

Everyone knows the story. 10 years ago, 9 Australians were detained in hotels in Bali and at Denpasar Airport. For committing the crime of attempting to smuggle heroin into Australia, the sentences handed down varied from 20 years imprisonment to death by firing squad – the maximum penalty. Appeals were made. At the end of which the two alleged ring leaders – Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan had their sentences upheld – death by firing squad.

Personally, I didn’t think it would happen. Prison sentences in Indonesia are cut all the time. For religious holidays and good behaviour to name a few. During his 10 year term, ¬†former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudyhoyono did not execute a single prisoner on death row for drug related offences.

Late last year, Joko Widodo became the Indonesian President. Widodo made his stance on narcotics very clear – the 64 prisoners on death row would be executed – and clemency would not be given under any circumstance. If accounts are correct – Widodo did not look into cases individually.

In January 2015, Widodo ordered the first round of executions. Tomorrow shortly after midnight, the next ones are due to take place.


I stand for mercy.

I stand for mercy because I never have and never will support state sanctioned murder for any human being, for any crime.

I stand for mercy, because I believe in rehabilitation, and that to err is human, and to forgive is divine. Andrew and Myuran have demonstrated rehabilitation in their 10 years in prison.

I stand for mercy, because the war on drugs will not be won by killing the middle man and allowing the drug lords to roam free.

I stand for mercy, because a government that can behave this way publicly is capable of worse behind closed doors.

I stand for mercy, because capital punishment is inhumane, barbaric and a violation of human rights.

I stand for mercy, because in the case of Andrew and Myuran, the punishment is disproportionate to the crime committed.

I stand for mercy, because I parent a young man who has and continues to make mistakes, and I teach my children that if you make errors, you admit it, correct it, better your life and move on.

When I think of Andrew and Myuran it is not for the crimes that they committed ten years ago, but for what they have done with their lives since and the men they are today.

I am hoping the one man who can save their lives sees it too before it’s too late.

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  • Reply Kristen Callow April 27, 2015 at 10:17 am

    #istandformercy. Thank you for your beautiful, heartfelt piece.

  • Reply Katie Gompertz April 27, 2015 at 10:26 am

    Thank-you Ali. This has been weighing heavily on my mind also and you’ve said what I’ve been thinking . I’m devastated and so sad for their families and disappointed in the Indonesian government for not seeing or caring the rehabilitation that has occured.

  • Reply Bec April 27, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I agree, and………. look at America. It has the death penalty. Does that actually make it the safest place to live in the world? No, hell no. Not by a long shot. Thing is, people who dabble in criminal behaviour don’t tend to think they’ll ever be caught and executed, or it’ll ever happen to them. Or it’s a heat-of-the-moment crime and not pre-meditated. So what’s the point of having the death penalty? It just shows how barbaric the leader of the country is, and its laws.

  • Reply Cristin April 27, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Beautifully said. I agree with everything you’ve said. It’s a very sad day. The only consolation I can take away is that many of us have learned so much about redemption and the boundless ability of the human spirit to not just survive, soar – to help others, be leaders, create art – even in the face of the most unimaginable adversity. #istandformercy

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