None of us should be too surprised to hear Prime Minister John Key say he can’t intervene in the case of a Kiwi feller facing the death penalty in Indonesia for alleged drug smuggling.
The plight of Tony de Malmanche, 52, has been well publicised.
He was was on his first trip out of New Zealand when he was arrested in Indonesia last month, accused of trying to smuggle 1.7kg of methamphetamine into the country.
Alf hasn’t followed the case closely.
But he does know that being caught with drugs in that country – and many other parts of South-east Asia – is best avoided.
De Malmanche could be executed.
The best thing that can be said is that a death penalty would be carried out by firing squad, which seems much preferable to being strapped down – as happens in the US – to be executed with a lethal dose of drugs. Sometimes this can be botched, which can result in a long and painful death, although the nature of the crimes committed by the scoundrel who is being put to death means not too much sympathy for his suffering is aroused except among do-gooders.
De Malmanche shouldn’t put any money on our Government saving him from the firing squad.
The Boss can only go so far in batting for our wayward citizens, as we learn in this report.
Mr Key told RadioLive today he “may be prepared” to raise concerns about the death penalty with Indonesia’s Government.
“In terms of actually intervening in the case, that’s a very different issue.”
Mr Key said Kiwis would not take kindly to Indonesia interfering in a New Zealand court case.
This means De Malmanche had better pray that his legal team can persuade Indonesian authorities he is innocent.
His lawyer is a Craig Tuck, who told the Herald on Sunday de Malmanche had a history of mental illness and had spent more than three years in institutional care at a young age.
Dunno what his has to do with his innocence but:
Tuck said de Malmanche had developed a strong Christian faith and was trying to meet someone to share his life with when he was detained by Customs and Police in Bali for three days before being paraded before the Indonesian media.
“Police disclosed that Tony was caught as part of an international sting involving a highly organised and sophisticated multinational criminal drug cartel,” Mr Tuck said.
He said de Malmanche’s legal team would now try to convince the three Indonesian judges at his trial that he was a victim rather than a perpetrator of trafficking.
Tuck isn’t the only Kiwi in trouble with overseas authorities.
Peter Gardner was arrested in China in November allegedly with 30kg of pure methamphetamine in his luggage.
It strikes Alf that 30kg of something you didn’t know about would be easily detected.
He would like to think the heaviness of his baggage would make him suspicious, if someone had stuck it inside his suitcases without his knowledge.
As for de Malmanche, it won’t be any comfort that Indonesia has just executed five foreigners and one local woman convicted of drugs offences.
The executions – the first under Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo – were carried out by firing squad on foreigners hailing from Brazil, the Netherlands, Vietnam, Malawi and Nigeria.
Indonesia has tough anti-drugs laws and Widodo, who took office in October, has disappointed rights activists by voicing strong support for capital punishment despite his image as a reformist.
This has triggered some diplomatic howz-yer-father from authorities in Brazil and the Netherlands who have condemned the execution of their citizens.
A spokesman for Brazilian President Dilma Roussef said she was “distressed and outraged” after Indonesia defied her repeated pleas and put to death Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, who was convicted of smuggling cocaine into Indonesia in 2004.“Using the death penalty, which is increasingly rejected by the international community, seriously affects relations between our countries,” the spokesman said in a statement.
Meanwhile Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said the Netherlands had temporarily recalled its ambassador to Indonesia over the execution of Dutchman Ang Kiem Soei, and described all six deaths as “terribly sad” in a statement.
“My heart goes out to their families, for whom this is marks a dramatic end to years of uncertainty,” Koenders said.
“The Netherlands remains opposed to the death penalty.”
Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Prime Minister Mark Rutte were in contact with the Indonesian president on the matter, we are told, and the Dutch government had done “all in its power” to attempt to halt the execution.
It seems unlikely The Boss can be any more influential, should De Malmanche be found guilty and sentenced to death.
The obvious lesson is to stay well clear of Indonesia if you are carrying drugs.
Actually, Alf suspects it is a country best avoided at the best of times no matter what you might be carrying.