Wednesday 28 September 2016

Bali Nine: Indonesian court rejects last-ditch appeal by Australian death-row convicts

Eveline Danubrata and Fergus Jensen

Published 06/04/2015 | 09:13

Australian drug traffickers on death row Myuran Sukumaran, left, and Andrew Chan during their trial in Bali in 2006 (AP)
Australian drug traffickers on death row Myuran Sukumaran, left, and Andrew Chan during their trial in Bali in 2006 (AP)
In this file combo photographs, seven foreign death row prisoners in Indonesia await execution by firing squad in Nusakambangan prison island. Top row from left, Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, Frenchman Serge Atlaoui and Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte. Bottom row from left. Nigerian Raheem Agbaje Salami, Filipina Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, and Nigerian Silvester Obiekwe Nwolise. AFP PHOTO / JEWEL SAMAD / SONNY TUMBELAKA / BAY ISMOYO / METRO TV / SURYO WIBOWOJEWEL SAMAD,SONNY TUMBELAKA,STR,BAY ISMOYO,METRO TV,SURYO WIBOWO/AFP/Getty Images
Family members of Australian death row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran head to Nusakambangan Island. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

An Indonesian court has rejected a last-ditch challenge by two Australian drug convicts facing execution by firing squad.

  • Go To

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were convicted in 2006 as the ringleaders of a plot to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

However lawyers for the state and defence are divided over whether legal avenues remained for them to avoid the death penalty.

They had both challenged the Jakarta administrative court's decision not to hear an appeal against President Joko Widodo's refusal to grant them clemency.

Family members of Australian death row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran head to Nusakambangan Island. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)
Family members of Australian death row prisoners Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran head to Nusakambangan Island. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim)

"There is no more legal recourse," Novarida, head of the state lawyers team, told reporters after the verdicts were delivered drily in a court packed with lawyers and journalists.

However, the mens' lawyer said they would take their case to the constitutional court.

"They have the right to live, and the state attorney knows that (the law) allows them to defend their lives," Leonard Arpan told reporters.

The Australian pair are among 10 drug convicts due to be executed by firing squad on the prison island of Nusakambangan. Others in the group include citizens of France, Brazil, the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia.

Widodo denied clemency to the convicts despite repeated pleas from Australia, Brazil and France.

Sukumaran and Chan had sought in February to challenge the president's blanket rejection, with their lawyers arguing that he did not give due consideration to each case. But the administrative court originally dismissed their case on the grounds it did not have the legal authority to assess it.

The attorney general is awaiting the outcome of legal appeals by three remaining death row inmates before setting a date for executions. His office's spokesman has previously said the intention is for all the executions to be carried out together, but they could be conducted in batches.

Indonesia has harsh penalties for drug trafficking and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap.

Widodo has pledged no mercy for drug offenders, saying Indonesia faces a "drug emergency". The country is a major destination for drugs trafficked in the region.

Australia has made repeated calls for mercy on behalf of Sukumaran and Chan, but Widodo has refused to change his stand, turning down an offer of a one-off prisoner exchange and to have the Australian government bear the cost of the convicts serving life sentences.

"Where there is life there is hope," Mercy Campaign, a group collecting signatures for a petition to Widodo, said on its Facebook page after the latest ruling. "We will continue to respectfully ask the president to change his mind."

Sukumaran and Chan were identified as leaders of a group of nine Australians arrested on the resort island of Bali in 2005 and convicted of attempting to smuggle some 18 lb (8 kg) of heroin to Australia. Other members of the group have been sentenced to long prison terms.

Reuters

Read More

Promoted articles

Editors Choice

Also in World News