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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, October 18, 2018

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Australian drug smugglers to be executed in Indonesia

President decision against giving clemency

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JAKARTA, Indonesia - A court in Indonesia on Monday turned down an appeal that challenged President Joko Widodo's decision against giving clemency that would have spared lives of two Australian drug traffickers.

"The object of the dispute is not part of the jurisdiction of the Administrative court," said presiding judge Ujang Abdullah of a three-judge panel.

Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, are among 10 drug smugglers whose planned executions last month were adjourned due to last-minute appeals from six inmates.

The two were the leaders of the "Bali Nine" group of heroin smugglers arrested in 2005. The others in the group to be executed are three Nigerians and four men from Brazil, France, Ghana and Indonesia, and a Filipino woman.

The appeal by Sukumaran and Chan was tried separately with the panel at the Jakarta High Administrative Court. The panel was the same which agreed with a lower court that the case is out of their jurisdiction since clemency is the prerogative of the president.

The two are scheduled to be executed by firing squad in the country that put to death six drug convicts including five foreigners in January, brushing aside last-minute appeals from Brazil and the Netherlands.

More than 130 people are on Indonesia's death row, including 57 drug convicts.

Two of the foreigners Serge Areski Atlaoui from France and Martin Anderson of Ghana, are still waiting for the outcome of their request for judicial reviews by the Supreme Court.

Last month, the country's highest court rejected judicial reviews by Filipino Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso.

The death sentenced to be carried out soon have strained ties between Indonesia and other countries, especially Australia and Brazil, but Widodo has vowed not to grant mercy to drug offenders because Indonesia is suffering what he called a "drug emergency."

Lawyer for the two Australians Leonard Arpan Aritonang expressed disappointment but added that the ruling did not stop them from seeking another legal option.

"We will file constitutional review in the next two weeks to ask the Constitutional Court to redefine and to emphasize what is the president's obligation in relation with the clemency," Aritonang said after the Australians' legal team complained that the presidential decrees rejecting the clemency did not provide reasons why they were rejected.

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