Bali Nine criminals punished "worse than terrorists"

A CRIMINOLOGIST says the Bali Nine pair awaiting execution in Indonesia are being punished worse than terrorists and their deaths will be an opportunity missed.

University of the Sunshine Coast's Bachelor of Criminology and Justice co-ordinator Professor Tim Prenzler condemned the pending executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Prof Prenzler said he agreed with public sentiment that the pair had turned the corner and had been rehabilitated.

He argued they could be best served educating others about the perils of the drug trade rather than being killed in what he believed would be an unsuccessful attempt at deterrence.

"I would agree with the general comment that they do appear to be repentant and to show evidence of rehabilitation and I think they could be used more effectively," Prof Prenzler said. "There are other Indonesian cases where terrorists haven't been sentenced to death."

Prof Prenzler said he did not think the execution of Chan and Sukumaran would have any impact on the Indonesian-Australian drug trade.

"Unfortunately a lot of these people are young men who think they're bulletproof...they think they're smart and then there are other drug mules who are coerced, so I think it's unlikely to have any impact on the illegal drug supply to and from Indonesia," he said.

Francis McLachlan, of the hinterland rehabilitation centre The Health Retreat, said he dealt with drug-addicted people daily, and believed that Chan and Sukumaran had "done their time" and could be better served educating drug addicts and offenders about how to break away from the cycle.

"To take someone's life is a pretty absolute thing to do... they could be advocates for not using or dealing drugs," Mr McLachlan said.

"People like this can give so much back if given the chance."

Mr McLachlan likened their pending executions as "double jeopardy" after already being subjected to 10 years in prison.

"I'm the most anti-drug person on the planet, I see what it does to people," he said.

"At least give them a chance. You've got to give people a chance to change their lives. They can make a huge difference, particularly with the 20 to 30-year-old age group."

Topics:  bali nine

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