Australian loses Indonesia death row appeal

2015-01-22 16:42
Australian drug smuggler Andrew Chan, one of the so-called ‘Bali Nine’ gang, attending his appeal at a court in Denpasar on the resort island of Bali. (Sonny Tumbelaka, AFP)

Australian drug smuggler Andrew Chan, one of the so-called ‘Bali Nine’ gang, attending his appeal at a court in Denpasar on the resort island of Bali. (Sonny Tumbelaka, AFP)

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Denpasar - An Australian drug smuggler on death row in Indonesia has lost his appeal for presidential clemency, an official said on Thursday, meaning he could soon face the firing squad alongside a compatriot also convicted of trafficking.

The news came after Jakarta at the weekend executed six drug offenders, including five foreigners, prompting a furious Brazil and the Netherlands - whose citizens were among those put to death - to recall their ambassadors.

Indonesia's new president has been a vocal supporter of capital punishment for drug offenders, and fears have been growing the two Australian leaders of the "Bali Nine" drug-smuggling gang, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, could be next.

The news on Thursday that President Joko Widodo had rejected Chan's appeal for clemency, typically the last chance of a death row convict to avoid the firing squad, removed the final hurdle for authorities to put the pair to death.

The Indonesian government, which enforces some of the toughest punishments for drug traffickers in the world, previously said that Chan and Sukumaran had to be executed at the same time as they had committed their crime together.

Sukumaran's appeal for presidential clemency was rejected last month, and authorities had been waiting for the outcome of Chan's appeal.

Following news Chan's appeal had been rejected, a spokesperson at the Indonesian attorney general's office said no date or location had been fixed for their executions.

Chan and Sukumaran, as well as other members of the drug-smuggling group, were arrested in 2005 for attempting to traffic 8kg of heroin out of the popular Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Both men were sentenced to death in 2006, and sought presidential clemency after losing appeals to Indonesia's Supreme Court in 2011. They are jailed in Bali's Kerobokan prison.

The other seven members of the "Bali Nine" were given lengthy jail terms.

Fresh appeal

A spokesperson for the district court in the Balinese capital Denpasar said he had received a "presidential decree on the rejection of clemency for Andrew Chan".

The letter, which was signed on 17 January and seen by AFP, said: "After careful consideration of the clemency appeal of the convict as listed in the presidential decree, it is assessed that there is not enough reason to grant clemency to the convict."

Following last week's executions, Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop said that Canberra would "continue to make representations at the highest level" to save the two Australian drug smugglers.

While an appeal for presidential clemency is normally the last avenue open to death row convicts, Sukumaran's lawyer said on Thursday he was making the unusual move of seeking a fresh judicial review of the case.

Speaking in Denpasar, Todung Mulya Lubis said he was trying to sort out "technicalities" and hoped to file the fresh appeal next week, adding he did not believe authorities had given a good reason to reject the clemency appeal.

Lubis is also the lawyer for Chan. However, he made the remarks about the fresh appeal before news emerged that Chan's clemency request had been rejected, and could not immediately be contacted for further comment.

Read more on:    indonesia  |  australia  |  narcotics

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