Lawyers seek to save 2 Australians on death row in Indonesia

AP News
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Posted: Feb 09, 2015 10:04 AM
Lawyers seek to save 2 Australians on death row in Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Lawyers for two Australians facing execution in Indonesia on drug smuggling charges said Monday they plan to challenge the president's rejection of their clemency appeals as a last resort.

Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, are among nine Australians who were arrested in 2005 on charges of attempting to smuggle 8.3 kilograms (18.3 pounds) of heroin from Bali to Australia. The group has been dubbed the "Bali Nine" by Australian media.

The two men are being held in Denpasar, the capital of the resort island of Bali.

President Joko Widodo has rejected their clemency appeals and vowed not to grant mercy to any other drug offenders because Indonesia is suffering a "drug emergency."

Last week, the Attorney General's Office announced the government is preparing to execute eight drug smugglers, including the two Australians, but declined to say when.

However, Foreign Ministry spokesman Arrmanatha Nasir said on Friday that his ministry has informed the Australian Embassy that Chan and Sukumaran will be executed this month by firing squad.

Their lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, said they have exhausted all normal legal options to prevent their executions.

He said they plan to file a complaint in an administrative court on Thursday challenging Widodo's rejection of the clemency appeals, arguing that it was made without consideration of the two men's remorse and rehabilitation.

He said Sukumaran has been teaching other prisoners English and art, while Chan has been preaching Christianity to help other prisoners and drug users.

"We are running out of time," he said at a news conference. "But they deserve to have a second chance in their lives."

Relatives of Chan and Sukumaran recently visited them in jail in Bali, and met with the National Committee on Human Rights in Jakarta on Monday in an attempt to save them.

"They are not the same people who committed that crime almost 10 years ago," Raji Sukumaran, Sukumaran's mother, said tearfully.

"We beg the Indonesian president for mercy for our sons, we beg you to spare our sons' lives, we beg you that they not be killed," she said.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws. On Jan. 18, it executed six drug convicts by firing squad, including foreigners from Brazil, Malawi, Nigeria, the Netherlands and Vietnam, brushing aside last-minute appeals by foreign leaders.

There are 133 people on death row, including 57 for drug crimes. About two-thirds of the drug convicts are foreigners, according to the Justice and Human Rights Ministry.