Al Berzins

It is easy to sanitize the nature of executions and more paticularly, death by firing squad. For myself I did view some of the images and descriptions on Google. Personally, I am horrified that Chan and Sukumaran were shot to eath by an Indonesian firing squad. For anyone interested you can view a couple of these images on my Instagram @AlBerzins. In addition, the following is a copy of:

The 27 rules for execution by firing squad in Indonesia

1. Convict is given clean, simple, and white clothing before being taken to a place or location of the implementation of the death penalty

2. When brought to the place or location of the implementation of the death penalty, the convict can be accompanied by a member of the clergy

3. The support team is ready at the appointed place two (2) hours before the time of execution of the death penalty

4. Team shooters have been gathered in preparation at the location of the implementation of the death penalty, one (1) hour prior

5. Team shooter sets the position and puts the 12 (twelve) rifles in front of the pole position of the implementation of the death penalty at a distance of five (5) meters up to ten (10) feet and back to the prep area 

6. Execution commander reports his team's readiness to prosecutors executor by saying 'report execution of the death penalty is ready'

7. Execution attorney conducts a final check of death row and the weapons used for the implementation of the death penalty

8. After the inspection is completed, the prosecutor orders the executing commander calls out 'execute' and then repeats the utterance 'execute'

9. The execution commander orders the firing squad commander to fill and lock arms ammunition into twelve (12) rifles with three (3) rounds of live ammunition and nine (9) roundsof blanks 

10. The prosecutor orders the commander of the execution squad to bring the convicted man to a position shooting and release his handcuffs and tie his hands and feet to a pillar in a standing, sitting, or kneeling position, unless otherwise specified by the prosecutor

11. The offender is given a last chance to calm down a maximum of 3 (three) minutes, accompanied by a clergy member

12. The commander team places a black cloth over the eyes of the covnicted man, unless the convict refuses

13. Doctors place a black mark on the convict's clothes right over the heart as the place to shoot at. Then the doctor withdraws

14. The commander reports to the execution prosecutor that the convicted person is ready to receive the death penalty

15. The execution prosecutor gives the sign/gesture to the commander to begin immediately implementing the shooting of the convict

16. Commander provides a sign / gesture to the firing squad commander to bring the firing squad to the front position

17. Execution commander takes his place in front of the right side facing of the firing squad 

18.The execution commander ensures the firing squad is ready to fire 

19. The implementing commander draws a sword as a symbol for the firing squad to aim towards the heart of the convict

20. The executing commander brandishes the sword forward as a cue to the firing squad to unlock weapons

21. The executing commander brings down the sword as a gesture to tell the firing squad to perform simultaneous shooting

22. After shooting is finished the executing commander sheaths his sword as a cue to the firing squad to stand their weapons

23.The executing commander and doctors check the condition of the convicted person and if the doctor thinks that the convict is still showing signs of life, the prosecutor makes an order to the shooting commander

24. The executing commander and doctors check the condition of the convicted person and if the convict is still breathing orders that a pistol be put to his temple just above the ear for a final shot

25. Shooting can be repeated, if according to a doctor's certificate is still signs of life

26. Execution of the death penalty is declared finished, if the doctor has stated that there are no more signs of life on the convict

27. Completion of the firing squad and the shooting commander orders its members to remove the magazine and empty their weapons


Having taken in the nature of this Inhumanity, I am still contemplating the following:

There has been much written on the fact that the Death Penalty is not a Deterrant and therefore why do countries like Indonesia, USA, China and Iran persist with this form of punishment? I think discussions about Deterrents are missing the point. ie. Countries that persist in using the Death Penalty are not interested in deterrents. They are really interested in REVENGE. State Sponsored killing is carried out because the subject states believe that they are extracting REVENGE on behalf of their citizens and that this vengeful punishment is what the majority of citizens in these countries want.

Ironically, the Killings of Chan and Sukumaran have highlighted other areas of Inhumanity and defective Human Rights both within Australia and off-shore. It has led us to question our Detentions of Refugees and the appalling number of Australian women killed each WEEK by their partners. Off-shore, it has highlighted once more, US state sponsored killings of innocents via Drone Strikes.

It also highlights the Inhumanity of our Prison Systems within Australia which lead to very long mandatory sentences for many, mainly young prisoners with little hope of remissions, education or training aimed at reducing re-offending. It is this area of potential Prison Reform within Australia that I will focus on in a forthcoming article with particular reference to Policy Improvement via:

The UN Handbook on Alternatives to Imprisonment