|Julian McMahon and Paris Aristotle with self-portraits by Myuran Sukumaran|
The abolitionist lawyer Julian McMahon and the refugee advocate Paris Aristotle have been recognised in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours list.
Julian McMahon, a Melbourne barrister, has been appointed a companion of the Order of Australia for his dedication to defending human rights, in particular advocating for defendants facing the death penalty.
The president of Reprieve Australia since 2015, McMahon has worked pro bono for death-row defendants including: Van Tuong Nguyen, hanged in Singapore in 2005; George Forbes, wrongly accused, then exonerated of murder in Sudan in 2007; and the Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, who were executed by firing squad in Indonesia in 2015.
His work has raised public awareness globally of the death penalty, as more and more countries abolish capital punishment.
In the wake of Chan and Sukumaran’s executions, McMahon said the killing of Australian citizens overseas for non-violent drug offences had solidified public opposition in Australia to capital punishment.
“I think it’s been a developing idea basically since the execution of Van Nguyen, which many people rightly thought was an appalling outcome,” McMahon told Fairfax Media.
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Source: The Guardian, Ben Doherty, June 11, 2017
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