Arrangements for the extradition of prisoners between Australia and Indonesia need to be improved say Indonesian law specialists Tim Lindsey and Simon Butt

Both Australia and Indonesia have citizens in each other’s jails. Given the ever increasing numbers of Australian tourists visiting Indonesia (already above pre-Bali bombing levels), and given that Indonesians flock to Australia in preference to any other country for overseas study, it is likely that the numbers of Australians in Indonesian jails and Indonesians in Australian jails will only increase.

This is the judgement of Tim Lindsey and Simon Butt in an opinion piece that appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on May 25. They observe that senior Indonesian government figures have drawn explicit links between the recently announced clemency for convicted Australian marijuana smuggler Schapelle Corby and Australia’s decision to send home to Indonesia underage Indonesian fishers arrested crewing on people-smuggler vessels. This is a reminder that the extradition process between the two countries is currently politicised, and “the fates of Australians in Indonesian jails are mortgaged to the health of the bilateral relationship.”

The authors call for “greater predictability and formal procedures that lawyers can use on a routine basis, without having to reinvent the wheel each time someone is charged”.

Tim Lindsey is Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law in the Asian Law Centre at the University of Melbourne. Simon Butt is Senior Lecturer at Sydney Law School.

Read the full text of their views at: or

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