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Sunday, December 4, 2016
Australian Church appeals for clemency for Bali bombers
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¬†The Catholic Church in Australia is stepping up its pressure on the government to oppose the use of the death penalty overseas, as calls for the execution of the Bali bombers in Indonesia increase. Launching a booklet: 'Confronting The Death Penalty', the chairman of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council, Bishop Christopher Saunders said: "people should oppose to the death penalty because every person, regardless of their citizenship, shared a fundamental right ≠ the right to life. "Our opposition to capital punishment cannot end at our national borders. The dignity and sanctity of all human life must be respected in all circumstances. Every person, whatever their citizenship shares the most fundamental right ≠ the right to life," Bishop Saunders said. In Bishop Saunders concluding remark, he urged the Australian government to work energetically with neighbouring countries to abolish the death penalty. The new booklet has chapters by the academics Michael Costigan and Andrew Byrnes, Brian Deegan, whose son Josh died in the 2002 Bali bombing, and Father Peter Norden, the former Pentridge Prison chaplain who was involved in the fight to save Van Nguyen, hanged in Singapore in 2005 for trafficking heroin. Speaking at the launch, Fr Norden said the position a nation took on capital punishment was a litmus test for a sense of its own humanity. "It's not a matter of self-interest or interfering in other countries' jurisdictions. It's not to do with guilt or innocence, but society's recognition of the value of human life - and the principle is tested in the most difficult cases, such as the Bali bombers." Fr Norden criticised Singapore and the United States, countries with the death penalty, saying they were "over-preoccupied with material success" and underplayed the value of human life.
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