Even though international legal trends are moving away from capital punishment, Australians need to get behind the cause to ban it, says the president of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR).
Stephen Keim said today (1 October) that although Australia does not enforce the death penalty, many Australians, such as the Bali Nine, continue to be affected by capital punishment laws abroad.
As such, Keim has urged Australians to get behind the World Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October.
"At a time when the death penalty hangs over Australians, I urge Australians to do what they can to mark [the day] this year," said Stephen Keim.
ALHR will be hosting a sold-out dinner at the Rydge's South Bank Hotel in Brisbane, on 8 October, in conjunction with Aussies Against Capital Punishment (AACP).
"I hope lots of individuals and community groups will hold their own events ... Although no Australian jurisdiction retains the death penalty, there is a potential for it to impact Australians. Members of the so-called Bali Nine, including Brisbane's Scott Rush, are currently on death row in Indonesia. The ongoing hearing of Scott's appeal has brought the trauma of death row to us all again," said Keim.
Queensland Attorney-General Cameron Dick, who recently refused to hand over evidence in the Honeymoon Dive Killer case to US authorities until they undertook not to execute accused killer Gabe Watson, will attend the dinner and speak on behalf of the State Government.
Politicians from all major political parties will also be in attendance, including Queensland Senators Barnaby Joyce, Claire Moore and Senator-Elect Larissa Waters.
Four Australians have been executed abroad since 1986: Van Nguyen (Singapore, 2 December 2005); Michael McAuliffe (Malaysia, 19 June 1993); Kevin Barlow (Malaysia, 7 July 1986) and Brian Chambers (Malaysia, 7 July 1986).