Asia Indonesia to decide on Australians’ execution appeal

Indonesia to decide on Australians’ execution appeal


President Joko Widodo
President Joko Widodo

(AA) – A court will decide Monday if two Australians on death row have a legal right to challenge the Indonesian president’s decision to deny them clemency.

Lawyers for the men – found guilty in 2005 of leading a drug smuggling ring – will plead their case at a Jakarta administrative court.

They argue that President Joko Widodo’s blanket policy of refusal for clemency for drug offenders sees him fail in his duty to consider applications on their individual merits, including what lawyers and the Australian government claim is the duo’s well-documented rehabilitation.

Widodo has vowed “no mercy” for all 58 convicts currently on death row.

On March 30, lawyers for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran presented an expert witness who said the act of refusing clemency was an administrative process that could be challenged.

Dr. Otong Rosadi – dean of Law at Ekasakti University – told the court that judges “do” have the right to rule on the president’s decision following a constitutional amendment 15 years ago which states that public policies can be challenged in court.

Widodo’s legal team argues his clemency power cannot be contested and the court does not have the authority.

If Chan and Sukumaran receive a positive verdict, they will get a full trial, which could force the president to reconsider their clemency bids on their individual merits.

The two men were due to face a firing squad last month, but Indonesia has put the executions on hold until their legal appeals – and those of eight other inmates sentenced to die alongside them – are exhausted.

Frenchman Serge Areski Atlaoui and Ghanaian Martin Anderson have filed appeals against their sentences in the Supreme Court, which last week rejected a petition by Filipina Mary Jane Viesta Veloso for a judicial review of her case.

It is still unclear, however, how long that could take.

Chan and Sukumaran have been on death row for 10 years after being convicted for their role as ringleaders in a plot to smuggle heroin into Australia.

The rest of the gang – dubbed “the Bali Nine” – was sentenced to prison terms.

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