Execution of Australian Bali Nine Members to Push Through, Indonesian Court Says

INDONESIA – Despite Australia’s appeal for clemency for the planned executions of two Australian drug smugglers, who are members of the Bali Nine, an Indonesian court here said death by firing squad will push through.

A panel of three judges in the administrative court in Jakarta confirmed an earlier ruling that will send Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to the country’s so-called “execution island” for firing squad.

The two were sentenced to death for their role in a failed heroin smuggling plot in 2005.

The Bali Nine were arrested after Indonesian police received a tip off from Australian Federal Police.

Chan, 31, was called the ringleader of the plot, while Sukumaran was described as Chan’s collaborator. Seven other people who participated in the plan are serving lengthy prison sentences.

The panel of judges said it lacked the jurisdiction to hear challenges against Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s refusal to grant clemency to death row convicts.

Lawyer for Chan and Sukumaran, Leonard Arpan, said their next move would be to challenge the constitutional court to define the president’s obligations in relation to clemency.

The lawyers have argued that President Joko Widodo erred by rejecting clemency for the men on the basis they were drug offenders, without considering their rehabilitation.

The country’s attorney general vowed that he will wait for all 10 prisoners in line for the firing squad to run out of legal appeals before their date of executions will be set.

On 13 February 2006, Renae Lawrence and Scott Rush, the first of the nine to face sentencing, were sentenced to life imprisonment.

The next day, Michael Czugaj and Martin Stephens were sentenced to life imprisonment, and the group ringleaders, Chan and Sukumaran were sentenced to death by firing squad, the first ever death sentences imposed by the Denpasar District Court.

The other three, Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen were all sentenced to life imprisonment on 15 February 2006.

On 26 April 2006, Lawrence, Nguyen, Chen, and Norman appealed and had their sentences reduced to 20 years, while the life sentences for Czugaj and Stephens were upheld.

Prosecutors launched appeals against the changes in their sentences. – BusinessNewsAsia.com