Skip to comments.Coroner defends no-ransom policy at inquest on Melbourne backpacker..., murdered by Khmer Rouge
Posted on 09/21/2012 3:24:38 PM PDT by naturalman1975
FORMER foreign minister Gareth Evans has welcomed a coronial finding that cleared the Australian government of any wrongdoing over the death of Melbourne backpacker David Wilson.
Victorian David Wilson was one of three foreigners taken hostage, tortured and killed by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
Youth worker Wilson, 29, Briton Mark Slater and Frenchman Jean Michel Braquet were abducted when their train was ambushed southwest of Phnom Penh in 1994.
They were killed after two months of negotiations for their freedom.
The Khmer Rouge had demanded a ransom of $US50,000 in gold for each of the hostages.
But the men were murdered after negotiations between the Cambodian and Australian governments and their captors broke down.
The Australian government maintained its policy of not paying ransoms and refused to accept private offers of the money.
The policy had been heavily criticised by Wilsons family, including father Peter, who has previously said the government didnt do enough to save his son.
Today coroner Iain West said the Australian government could not be criticised for its actions.
"I am satisfied there is no legitimate reason for criticising the Australian government for opposing or not co-operating in the payment of a ransom," he said.
"The principle behind not doing so is sound and internationally acknowledged.
"Similarly, there is no basis for criticising the decision to abstain from taking diplomatic measures involving threats to limit or cease provision of foreign aid as a means to manipulate or place pressure upon the conduct of another sovereign nation."
(Excerpt) Read more at heraldsun.com.au ...
It amazes me to hear of people who would never walk through their local ghetto, yet backpack through some of the most dangerous places in the world. Duh!
Young people are often naive & ignorant. It is important for parents to explain the possible dangers of traveling abroad, & make CLEAR that Mommy & Daddy can do nothing to prevent your murder or keep you out of a corrupt jail.
When I was young I was naive and ignorant. So I joined the Marine Corps.
Westerners have to be aware that when they travel to the Third World,particularly a war torn areas,they put thenselves at risk in all kinds of ways.Governments can’t be paying huge ransoms...or even small ones...to the thugs of such regions.As ugly as it might seem the Australian gov’t did the right thing under the circumstances.
Why is a coroner nmaking this pronouncement? Perhaps FR Aussies can clarify. The coroner is issuing a finding of lack of culpability for the government. Why is that judgment within the purview of a coroner? Or are Australian coroners different animals than US coroners?
In Australia (as in most of the Commonwealth), a special court proceeding called an Inquest is required in any case where a death is violent or unnatural (or unexplained). The proceeeding is presided over by a Coroner acting in the role of a judge. The Coroner is required to render a verdict on four questions - the identity of the deceased, the place of death, the time of death, and the circumstances surrounding the deceaseds death.
It’s on this last point that the Coroner has ruled in this case.
The role of a medical examiner is separate (although some Coroners are Doctors) - a Coroner will hear evidence from the medical examiner in many cases, of course.
A coroners ruling has no specific force by itself, but can lead to, and influence, other judicial actions.
Oh horsehockey. This excuse for a government won't provide protection unless there is something in it for them.
Uncle Sugar will not pay ransom, & is unlikely to be able to help you.
That depends on who you are and how much media coverage you can muster.
As any seasoned traveler knows, you buy Kidnap, Ransom and Extortion Insurance when traveling through scary places.
Some of these companies have seasoned and well-trained mercenaries willing to get you out of tough spots. The policy may include search and rescue and a helicopter gunship filled with commandoes if needed.
This is good information to learn about, knowing that the government won’t send a platoon of Marines to rescue you if you get your stupid ass nabbed by Teddy the Terrorist.
If I remember correctly, the policy costs about $200 annually for a basic rescue me package.