Australian Victims ‘Torn Over Executions of Bali Bombers’
SYDNEY ~ The Bali bombers’ Australian victims are torn on whether the men should face the firing squad, with some opposing the death penalty and others wanting to “pull the trigger,” reports said.
The impending executions of Amrozi, 47, Mukhlas, 48, and Imam Samudra, 38, have stirred strong emotions in Australia, home to 88 of the 202 killed in the attacks on the popular Bali nightclub strip in 2002.
Brian Deegan, a former magistrate who lost his 22-year-old son Josh in the attacks, is opposed to the death penalty, despite acknowledging the relief it could bring to some.
“People are being put to death, which I absolutely deplore,” he told The Australian.
His views were echoed by Gayle Dunn, whose 18-year-old son Craig died in the bombings on nightclubs packed with Western tourists, among the worst terror acts since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
“I just think they’re getting what they wanted,” she told The Sydney Morning Herald. “They’re just going to become martyrs.”
Tracey Ball, who was seriously burned in the bombings, said there was no denying she would feel relief when the Islamic militants were finally executed, but that the issue of the death penalty troubled her.
“Prior to the Bali bombings, I don’t think I would have ever believed in the death penalty… but since having someone… try to kill me for absolutely no personal reason, it does change the way you think and feel.
“I’ve struggled with how I’ve felt. If I was offered to pull the trigger, would I do it? Sometimes yes, sometimes no,” she told The Australian.
But Kevin Paltridge, whose son Corey died in the blasts, was clear.
“I’d like to pull the trigger,” he told the paper.
The issue has also posed questions for the Australian government, which publicly denounces the death penalty but has said that justice has been served in the bombers’ case.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said last week that Canberra would continue to plead for the lives of Australians on death row in foreign prisons.
But he added: “We don’t make representations on behalf of nationals of other countries, and we certainly don’t make representations on behalf of terrorists.”