The Forum 4 – Bali 9 and Legalized Killing

In its fourth year, The Forum tackles the gripping subject of Bali9 and Indonesia’s death penalty laws. Framed as an interactive discussion between experts and students, The Forum facilitates intellectual conversation between students, Indonesian citizens, and our panellists.

Bali9 was the term coined to the nine Australian citizens who attempted to smuggle around $4 million-worth of heroin from Indonesia to Australia in 2005. Being caught in the act, most of the men received lifetime prison sentences – except for two of them, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were sentenced to death by firing squad. The two men were finally sentenced to death in 2015 after the current president, Joko Widodo, denied their plea for mercy. The opposing opinions between Indonesian and Australian officials and the public make this an interesting case to discuss.

This year we invited guest speakers, Denny Indrayana and Allan Patience. Indrayana is a renowned Indonesian activist and is currently a Professorial Fellow at The University of Melbourne as well as a law professor at The University of Gadjah Mada. He was the former Vice Minister of Law and Human Rights in Indonesia, and served as President Yudhoyono’s special advisor for legal affairs, human rights, and anticorruption matters.

Patience on the other hand is currently a Principal Fellow in Political Science at University of Melbourne’s Asia Institute. His specialty of work is in Australian foreign policy, specifically in the Asia Pacific region. With two different perspectives and two different areas of expertise, it makes for a fascinating discussion between the two culturally contrasting countries.

The Forum began with presentations from Indrayana and Patience regarding their background and how it relates to their positions on the death penalty. Drawing on the case of the Bali9 as a prompt, The Forum’s main discussion was about the way law and politics really operate in Indonesia, and the implications it can serve to international affairs.

Indrayana shared a lot on his experience with working under former Indonesian president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Perhaps the most interesting fact was that President Yudhoyono personally did not favour the death penalty, but felt as though he could not do anything about it as it was his duty, first and foremost, to uphold the laws already set in place.

The conversation became more complex as it entered into the area of political motivations and just how much weight Indonesian citizens’ opinions held in the permanency of the death penalty. There was great interactivity between the guest speakers and our audience who posed interesting questions that spread to areas such as public opinion and religion. All in all, it was an exciting two hours of intellectual discussion from varying perspectives.

Did you happen to miss The Forum? Well, not to worry – because we’ve got a livestream of the entire event up on our Facebook page!

Additionally, we would like to extend a thank you to our media partners: Buset, Kopitoebruk, Love & Hate Radio 94.1 FM, and Ozip for working with us.


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bali9, forum, legalized killing, politics