Thursday, April 21, 2005


"I'll make true art when it says nothing and nothing has not spoken clear. The heart is a mighty master, but so is what we can't hear."

For death row inmates in Indonesia, execution usually comes on a deserted beach or remote jungle at the hands of a paramilitary firing squad. And, it rarely comes fast.

Under the direction of the prosecutor's office and after three days' notice to the prisoner, a squad of around 10 to 13 police from the elite paramilitary Mobile Brigade is selected following a practice session shooting at human-shaped targets.

The actual time and place selected will be under the direction of the prosecutor, General-Attorney's spokesman R.J. Soehandoyo said. But it will usually be early morning and will be out of public sight. If on a beach, the convict will be handcuffed to a pole placed in the sand.

The Brimob officers will not know who fired the fatal shots. They choose from a row of guns laid out around 10 metres from the condemned prisoner and only two of the weapons contain live rounds.

Death does not often come quickly. "With a firing squad, there is often a time lapse until they actually die," Soehandoyo said, adding death must be certified by a doctor.

"There is usually around a 3 to 5 minute (period) until his death." To improve the likelihood of a quick execution, usually a white apron is hung on the convict with a round red target over the heart.

The prisoner is always hooded and may also choose to wear a blindfold. Sometimes the prisoner chooses to go bare-chested, in which case a target cross will be taped to their skin.

Soehandoyo said the person is only rarely shot through the temple to hasten death because the body must be collected by relatives for burial.

"We don't want him to be in misery for long. Basically, we try to give the best to him in his last minutes of life. As a human, we can understand his needs. But we must also make him understand that especially as he is going to be taken by his family, it must not be in dreadful condition. Let's say he shall not die dreadfully," Soehandoyo said.

Indonesia has always had the death penalty and last year executed two Thais and an Indian for drug smuggling. But the country is mulling legal changes which would allow the firing squad to be replaced by a lethal injection as the means of execution.

"At the moment, the attorney-general would love some changes. Death by injection won't cause so much suffering," Soehandoyo said.


ACADP argues that there is no such thing as a "humane" or "clean" execution of a healthy living human being.

The search for a "humane" way of killing people should be seen for what it is --- a search to make executions more palatable to those carrying out the killing, to the governments that wish to appear humane, and to the public in whose name the killing is to be carried out.

The following is the cold-blooded, premeditated "ritual" for lethal injection as portrayed to the public.

The prisoner is brought in by a tactical tie-down team of five cold-blooded prison guards and laid on the bed-type death gurney. The five members of the tie-down team are each assigned a different part of the condemned prisoner's body, and are responsible for strapping that body part (eg. arm, leg, head, etc.) to the death gurney, for the sole purpose of turning the prisoner's body into a corpse.

The prisoner is strapped to the death gurney with lined ankle and wrist restraints. A cardiac monitor and a stethoscope are attached, and two saline intravenous lines are started, one in each arm. The prisoner is then covered with a white sheet. The saline intravenous lines are turned off, and a dose of Sodium Thiopental is injected. This causes the prisoner to fall into a deep sleep. The second chemical agent, Pancuronium Bromide, is a muscle relaxant. This causes the inmate to stop breathing due to paralysis of the diaphragm and lungs. Finally, Potassium Chloride is injected which disrupts the normal electrolyte balance to the heart. This stops the heart from beating.

The process of turning a living body into a corpse is said to take place between 10-12 minutes. However, things do go wrong, so terribly wrong, and sometimes it takes much, much, longer.


The following is a mere glimpse of the 'cruel and unusual punishment' of lethal injection. Sadly, it rarely reaches the public via media reporting.

* The worst of the worst, was for Tommie Smith.
He was not pronounced dead until one hour and 20 minutes after his execution began. Because executioners' could not find a suitable vein in Smith's arm, they had to insert an angio-catheter into his heart. That took 35 minutes. Smith remained conscious throughout the whole ordeal. After the lethal chemicals begin flowing into his veins and after eighteen violent convulsions, Smith is pronounced dead.

* The most recent was that of Jose Martinez High. He was pronounced dead one hour and nine minutes after the execution began. After spending 39 fruitless minutes stabbing needles into Jose High's body (a former drug addict) in search of a suitable vein, the execution team under contract to do the job, abandoned their efforts. Then, in violation of the ethical code of the American Medical Association, a medical physician was called in to find a suitable vein. Eventually, one needle was stuck in High's hand and a second needle was inserted in High's neck. The prisoner remained conscious throughout the ordeal. Prison officials turned off the microphone in the death chamber so that witnesses could not hear the condemned's screams. His body looked like a pin-cushion after being pushed, punctured and stabbed with catheter needles. But High's pain was clear for witnesses to see, once prison officials opened the curtains on the window of the execution chamber. A reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote; "During the procedure, Jose High grimaced, appeared to cry, blinked rapidly and stared at a clock on the wall. At one point he cried out, but his words were unintelligible because the microphone in the room had been turned off...the difficulty inserting the intravenous had visible physical responses on Jose High."

* In the case of Rickey Ray Rector, a mentally retarded Arkansas prisoner, it took executioners' 45 minutes to find a suitable vein in his body, in which to insert the intravenous tube. Eight prison officials tried to find a suitable vein that would not collapse - but in the end, Rector had to help his own executioners' insert the intravenous.

* Bennie Demps Prison officials struggled for 33 minutes to insert the lethal intravenous drip into Bennie Demps' vein. "They butchered me back there," Demps shouted just before his execution. "I was in a lot of pain, they cut me in the groin, they cut me in the leg. I was bleeding profusely." Demps said prison officials twice sliced into his body and had stitched up one wound before taking him to the execution chamber. The prison warden claimed Demps was just "griping - what a bad sport". Demps pleaded with his lawyer George Schaefer, to investigate the way the state executioners' handled him. In a letter to the state attorney Rod Smith, George Schaefer called for a formal investigation into the execution.

* John Wayne Gacy... After the execution began, one of the three lethal drugs clogged the tube leading to Gacy's vein in his arm, and therefore stopped flowing. Curtains covering the window of the execution chamber were closed, so that witnesses could not see the botch-up. The clogged tube was replaced with a new tube. The curtains were re-opened, and the execution process resumed.

* Michael Elkin ... Elkins's execution was delayed for 40 minutes while numerous attempts were made to insert the intravenous needles in a suitable vein for the lethal injection. Because of Elkins' poor physical condition, the first needle was ultimately inserted in
Elkins's neck. Attempts to use veins in his arms, legs, and feet were unsuccessful, therefore the second needle was not inserted.

* Stephen Peter Morin ... Prison officials had to poke and probe both of Morin's arms and legs with catheter needles for 45 minutes, before they found a suitable vein to begin the flow of lethal drugs.

* Raymond Landry ... Two minutes into his execution, the syringe popped out of Landy's vein, spraying the deadly chemicals across the room and toward the witnesses. The curtain on the window of the execution chamber was closed for 14 minutes, so witnesses could not see the insanity. Landry was pronounced dead 40 minutes after being strapped to the death gurney and 24 minutes after the lethal drugs first started flowing into his veins.

* Stephen McCoy.... The prisoner had such a violent physical reaction to the lethal chemicals. His heaving chest, gasping, and choking, caused a witness (male) to faint, crashing into and knocking over another witness.

* Billy Wayne White ... It took 47 minutes for prison officials to find a suitable vein. Incredibly, White eventually had to help his state-sanctioned killers find a suitable vein in his body.

* Emmitt Foster... He was not pronounced dead until 30 minutes after the executioners' began the flow of lethal chemicals into the veins in his arms. Seven minutes after the chemicals began to flow, the curtains on the window to the execution chamber were closed, to prohibit the witnesses from viewing the insanity. The curtains were not re-opened until three minutes after death was pronounced. According to the coroner, who pronounced death, the problem was caused by the tightness of the leather straps that bound Foster to the death gurney - it was so tight that the flow of chemicals into his veins was restricted. The coroner entered the death chamber twenty minutes after the execution began, noticed the problem and told prison officials to loosen the strap so that the execution could proceed. It was several minutes after a prison official finally loosened the strap that death was pronounced.

* Joseph Cannon... In the first attempt at killing him, a vein in his arm collapsed and the needle popped out. "It's come undone," Cannon told witnesses. Prison officials closed the curtains on the window to the execution chamber for some 15 minutes. Then, the second try to kill Cannon, began again.


In common with other execution methods, lethal injection (a.k.a. poison) overcomes none of the fundamental objections to the death penalty.

Its much promoted "humane" qualities are of marginal benefit to the prisoner who ends up dead and who has, in some cases, spent years awaiting execution and then varying periods up to an hour while a suitable vein is found, the needle inserted and the lethal chemicals injected.

The search to perfect the "humane and ideal" way to kill prisoners is hardly a sign of a humane society.

by ACADP 21 April 05

ACADP Incorporated
The Premier Australian Internet
Resource on Capital Punishment

Pastels 12 by 18 inches Set Twelve


ACADP condemns the actions of the person/s who sent a threatening letter to staff at the Indonesian Consulate in Perth.


The Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) is (again) calling on U.S. President George W. Bush, to join the civilised world and destroy all chemicals of mass destruction, for the dignity and respect of every human life.

The difference between life and death can rest on the whim of a president or the ability of a lawyer. Whether or not the death penalty can be justified is very much up for grabs.

US: The American media reports that thousands of Iranians cheered, whistled and clapped as a serial killer was publicly executed in Iran last week.

The United States of America has withdrawn from an international agreement that gives detained foreign nationals the right to seek assistance and talk to their consular officers.

Corby lawyer pleads for Australian help
Schapelle Corby, 27, is accused of carrying over four kilograms of marijuana into Bali and could be sentenced to death if she is found guilty.

OHIO: Appeals court tosses death sentence for U.S.-British citizen
In Cincinnati, a federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction and death sentence of a man with dual U.S.-British citizenship who was convicted of killing a 2-year-old girl by starting a fire in his ex-girlfriend's apartment.

If you haven't heard about it yet, you will. There's a celebration in the air: Kenny is an innocent man living on death row in an Ohio prison and the authorities may finally acknowledge what we've known all along.

To prepare for Connecticut's first state-sanctioned killing in 45 years, the state Department of Corrections has spent more than US$33,000 on such items as training personnel, drugs (poison), intravenous catheters and tubing, portable restrooms, mobile offices, lighting and curtains for the witness observation room.

Child Offenders on Death Row
Recent Australian studies of alcohol and cannabis use show that girls are increasingly inclined to behave boldly. But boys out number the girls, two to one; and three to one in the juvenile justice system, mortality figures, speeding infringements and car crash statistics.

US death row numbers don't change policy?
The number of prisoners on death row in the United States appears to be falling, mostly credited to a single Governor who commuted the sentences of all the death row prisoners in his state.

Despite Drop in Crime, an Increase in Inmates
US: The number of inmates in state and federal prisons rose 2.1 percent last year, even as violent crime and property crime fell, according to a study by the Justice Department released yesterday.

How Denying the Vote to Ex-Offenders Undermines Democracy
For starters, hundreds of thousands of people who are still eligible to vote will not do so this year because they will be locked up in local jails, awaiting processing or trials for minor offenses.

DNA Evidence of Bipartisanship
Last week the U.S. Congress passed the Justice for All Act, which includes provisions of the Innocence Protection Act. As of this posting, the legislation has not yet been signed by President Bush. Attached is an analysis of the legislation prepared by the Justice Project.

Our Two Priority Bills sent to White House
US: The 8th National CURE Convention last June lobbied on Capitol Hill the Innocence Protection Act in the Senate and the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act of 2004 in the House. On Sunday, October 10th, Congress passed both bills and sent them to the President to be signed.

US: A Californian man who beheaded a german shepherd dog he had named after his girlfriend, has been sentenced to 25 years to life under California's three-strikes law.

SAVE THE LIFE OF NGUYEN TUONG VAN:A PLEA TO SINGAPORE PRESIDENT On behalf of the Australian Coalition Against Death Penalty (ACADP) and in the spirit of respect for human life, I make a heartfelt plea for clemency, compassion and mercy, to spare and save the young life of Nguyen Tuong Van, currently under sentence of death at Changi Prison in Singapore. Nguyen Tuong Van, is a 23-year-old Australian man of Vietnamese origin. Nguyen was arrested at Changi Airport in December 2002, whilst in transit from Cambodia to Australia. He was later charged and convicted of drug-trafficking. In March 2004 he was sentenced to death for his crime.

A long-standing convention not to extradite people out of Australia if they face the death penalty has been abandoned.

Kids from 3 to 83 years old beat candy labeled "Justice" out of a big Texas-shaped piqata on Aug. 1 as dozens gathered in the Houston City Hall Park to celebrate the 30th birthday of Nanon Williams, an innocent person on Texas death row.

THE LAND OF BIBLES, GUNS, PATRIOTS AND THE 'WORLD ROLE MODEL' FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: The state of Alabama, USA, executed James Barney Hubbard. So what? ... you might say ... America executes prisoners almost every week!

Appealing a Death Sentence Based on Future Danger USA-HOUSTON, June 9 - Texas juries in capital cases must make a prediction. They may impose a death sentence only if they find that the defendant will probably commit more violent acts.

Forensics? In proposing a new death penalty for Massachusetts last month, Governor Mitt Romney offered firm assurance that no innocent people would be executed: Convictions, he said, will be based on science.

Silencing the Cells: Mass Incarceration and Legal Repression in U.S. Prisons People without a voice are not people in any meaningful sense of the word. Silenced people cannot express their ideas; they can neither consent nor protest. They are reduced to being pawns in the schemes of the powerful, mendicants who must accept whatever is imposed upon them. In order to keep people in a state of subjugation, silencing their voices is essential. Nowhere is this clearer than in U.S. prisons.

U.N. Group Seeks End To Executions The United States, Japan, China, India and Muslim nations including Saudi Arabia opposed the resolution. Burkina Faso, Cuba, Guatemala, South Korea and Sri Lanka abstained.

US: Execution Dear Friends, this is so sad especially for our dear friend, San Nguyen. San who lives in Oklahoma worked very hard with the rest of the Vietnamese community to stop Mr. Le's execution. You may remember San from being at CURE's First International Conference in New York City in 2001. San also plans to be at the 8th National Convention this June in Washington. Charlie

Please contact the Governor The Vietnamese-American Community, the ACLU, and many others want the March 30 execution of Huang Thanh Le commuted.

Cherie Blair attacks US over death penalty in Catholic paper Cherie Blair has renewed her attack on America's use of the death penalty. In a book review in the Catholic journal The Tablet, under her maiden name Cherie Booth, she says: "Capital cases are uniquely prone to error and thus call into question whether we can ever be really sure of obtaining the just result.

Death penalty: a lawyer sees the light The observation "Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus" is illustrated by the two nations' differing reactions to the use of the death penalty as a legitimate punishment for murder.

OHIO: Judges join dissent on execution delay In Columbus, 5 federal appeals court judges say a convicted killer's request to delay his execution was illegally denied because 2 senior judges participated in the vote.

Stephen Romei: Death knell sounds for US capital law GEORGE Ryan gets my vote as Australian of the Year, even though he's the outgoing governor of the US state of Illinois. There's just no one I admire more right now, not even Greg's Kables Community News Newtwork..

Mexico Awaits Hague Ruling on Citizens on U.S. Death Row Sbaldo Torres, a convicted murderer on death row in Oklahoma, should have been dead by now, his appeals exhausted, his time up.

Jury Passes On Business Of Killing US: This drives the death penalty crowd in the legislature nuts. Yet another jury - another 12 men and women, tried and true, who had all attested to their belief in the death penalty - has refused to join in the killing business.

Ultimate Punishment Scott Turow has long juggled two careers‹that of a novelist and that of a lawyer. He wrote much of his first and best known legal thriller, Presumed Innocent, on the commuter train to and from work during the eight years he spent as an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, and he has churned out another blockbuster every third year since joining the firm of Sonnenschein Nath and Rosenthal in 1986.

A Question of Innocence Rubin Carter: Day after day, week after week, I would sit in that filthy cell, seething. I was furious at everyone. At the two state witnesses who lied, at the police who put them up to it, at the prosecutor who sanctioned it, at the judge who allowed it, at the jury who accepted it, and at my own lawyer, for not being able to defeat it.

Amnesty steps up campaign to abolish death penalty Human rights watchdog Amnesty International is urging people around the world to pressure countries to abolish the death penalty.

'LAND OF THE FREE' SET TO EXECUTE TWO PRISONERS BY FIRING SQUAD: Wanted: Willing executioners for two convicted murderers. Must be psychologically sound and familiar with .30-calibre rifles. No victims' relatives need apply.

TEXAS EXECUTES 300th PRISONER Keith Clay was executed tonight, becoming the 300th prisoner in Texas to die by lethal injection since the rogue state resumed the death penalty 20 years ago.

AUSTRALIAN COALITION AGAINST DEATH PENALTY " ... Our nation was built on a promise of life and liberty for all citizens. Guided by a deep respect for human dignity, our Founding Fathers worked to secure these rights for future generations, and today we continue to seek to fulfil their promise in our laws and our society.

Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty Please note the following article shows clearly the hateful, uncaring and anti-human rights attitude as reflected by the Governor of Texas (and most other elected Texas officials).

Bush rules out death sentence review US President George W Bush says has dismissed any chance of a review of America's system of capital punishment.

Amnesty urges Bush to shut death row Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has urged US President George W. Bush to take a "moral stand" and abolish the death penalty after the Illinois Governor dramatically emptied that state's death row.

USA - A NATION IN TURMOIL: As the year 2002 draws to a close, little if anything, has changed in the United States in regards to state-sanctioned killing. Various campaigns, calls for clemency, petitions, and international condemnation, have failed to humanize U.S. politicians.

Here come de Judge - Time to Leave [266]
There have always been examples of rulings and interpretations that have supported the saying "The law is an ass". This is increasingly the case, because even the best intentioned judges are now facing an avalanche of new technologies and social change. But, it is no good making excuses for the judiciary and continuing to accept their strange interpretations. We must recognise that not only judges but the whole legal system will struggle more and more. In the end the whole system will become a farce. This is the way empires end.