Bali 9 pas­tor’s deadly les­son

More Aussie drug ex­e­cu­tions loom

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - The Everest - AARON LANGMAID

THE pas­tor who stood with Bali Nine mem­ber Myu­ran Suku­maran in the har­row­ing mo­ments be­fore his ex­e­cu­tion has warned that drug-tak­ing Aussie trav­ellers are fail­ing to learn from his mis­takes.

Speak­ing ahead of the re­lease of a doc­u­men­tary re­count­ing the last 72 hours of the life of Suku­maran (pic­tured), Melbourne pas­tor Christie Buck­ing­ham has warned it was only a mat­ter of time be­fore his­tory re­peats it­self.

“Very quickly peo­ple for­get how easy it is to get into trou­ble,’’ Ms Buck­ing­ham said.

“Drugs are more ac­ces­si­ble than ever, cer­tainly in Bali, and Aussie tourists can get specif­i­cally tar­geted by traf­fick­ers, es­pe­cially when they are drunk.

“The fact is many Aus­tralians travel to coun­tries where they have the death penalty and yet it doesn’t seem to be a de­ter­rent.

“What hap­pened to Myu­ran and An­drew will hap­pen again.’’

Ms Buck­ing­ham’s com­ments come just days af­ter a Queens­land man be­came the lat­est Aus­tralian ar­rested in Bali over drug pos­ses­sion when mar­i­juana mixed with to­bacco and the seda­tive Di­azepam was al­legedly found in his bag­gage at the coun­try’s in­ter­na­tional air­port.

The doc­u­men­tary on Suku­maran’s fi­nal hours, Guilty, opened at the Ade­laide Film Fes­ti­val this week.

Di­rected by Matthew Sleeth, it high­lights the fi­nal 72 hours of the West­ern Syd­ney man’s life be­fore he was shot by fir­ing squad along with fel­low Bali Nine mem­ber An­drew Chan in April 2015.

The pair were two of nine drug mules con­victed for at­tempt­ing to smug­gle heroin out of In­done­sia in 2005. The film fo­cuses on Suku­maran’s re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion with many crit­ics point­ing to his re­form and moves to be­com­ing an ac­com­plished artist as a defin­ing ar­gu­ment against cap­i­tal pu­n­ish­ment. Ms Buck­ing­ham said the doc­u­men­tary would give au­di­ences a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of how much the drug smug­glers’ lives had changed and strengthen the global cam­paign lead by or­gan­i­sa­tions like Re­prieve Aus­tralia. Ms Buck­ing­ham, whose pas­toral care work con­tin­ues to this day at Bali’s Ker­obokan Prison, said it had also been an im­por­tant per­sonal jour­ney. She said the chal­lenge to make Aus­tralians of all ages aware of the con­se­quences and the push to end cap­i­tal pu­n­ish­ment would con­tinue.

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