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Australian drug smugglers make last-ditch attempt to avoid death by firing squad

Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug trafficking gang, were sentenced to death in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

Indonesian police line up in front of a prison during the transfer of Australian death row prisoners, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Bali.
Indonesian police line up in front of a prison during the transfer of Australian death row prisoners, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Bali.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

LAWYERS FOR TWO Australian drug smugglers facing execution in Indonesia submitted evidence to a court as part of the men’s latest attempt to avoid the firing squad.

Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug trafficking gang, were sentenced to death in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

Their appeals for presidential clemency, typically a death row convict’s final chance of avoiding the firing squad, were recently rejected by Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

The men, in their early 30s, are expected to be executed at the same time as eight other drug offenders.

Jakarta initially said the executions would take place in February and nothing could stop them going ahead. However, authorities backed off following an international outcry and are now letting all pending legal appeals run their course.

The Australians’ legal team, in its latest bid to avoid execution, are arguing against Widodo’s decision to reject their pleas for clemency, saying he failed to assess their rehabilitation or give reasons for his decision.

The Jakarta State Administrative Court dismissed the bid last month, saying clemency was the president’s prerogative. The Australians’ lawyers are now appealing that decision.

At at brief hearing, they submitted several documents to the court related to laws on the president’s prerogative, said lawyer Leonard Aritonang without giving further details.

The lawyers will return to court on Monday with an expert witness.

Sukumaran and Chan were transferred earlier this month from jail on Bali to Nusakambangan prison island off Java, where they will be put to death.

- © AFP, 2015

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