"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed, but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." - Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The most common countries locking up Australians

Welcome to Bali
Welcome to Bali
Australian travellers have continued to flock to Bali in record numbers despite the highly-publicised and controversial executions of two Australians last year and the melodrama surrounding Schapelle Corby.

Travel data from Hotels.com ranked the Indonesian island as the top destination for Aussie tourists in 2015.

Its popularity did not fall despite the high-profile criminal cases, including the execution of two members of the Bali Nine, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, in April last year, and convicted drug-smuggler Corby’s nine-year struggle for freedom, which culminated in her release on February 10, 2014.

In the latter years of Corby’s sentence, deteriorating mental health saw lawyers argue for clemency. Wednesday marks two years since her release on the condition she remained in Indonesia until July 2017.

As of February this year, 14 Australians, including seven members of the Bali Nine, remained in Indonesian prisons.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) dealt with 371 cases of Australians in prisons across the world in 2014-15. Topping the list was China, followed by the United States and Vietnam.

Despite clear warnings of illegal drug use overseas, more and more Australians were caught for illicit substance offences, making up 41 per cent of prisoner offences in 2014-15, compared to 39 per cent the year before.

Foreign Prisoner Support Service human rights lawyer Stephen Kenny, who previously represented David Hicks, told The New Daily there seemed to be a common misconception among Australians that “the odds of a fair trial are pretty good” abroad.

“The truth is they are not,” he said.

“Our justice system is pretty much a Rolls-Royce system and many countries simply cant afford that, so the procedural fairness that may be available to Australians in Australia simply doesn’t exist in other countries.”

The cases of Chan, Sukumaran and Corby seemingly managed to capture exclusive attention of local media outlets, but Indonesia was actually ranked quite low in the number of Australians detained.

As of this month, DFAT was offering assistance to 547 citizens arrested, sentenced, imprisoned and granted bail across the world. Nearly 40 of them were in China, while 29 were in Vietnam, 28 in the United States, 19 in Thailand, 17 in New Zealand and 14 in Indonesia.

Danger zones: places Australian travellers should fear to tread

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Source: The New Daily, Emma Manser, Feb. 9, 2016

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