SYDNEY: Lawyers for two Australians facing imminent execution in Bali said on Monday they plan to launch a rare challenge against the Indonesian president’s refusal to grant them a pardon.
Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, ringleaders of the so-called “Bali Nine” drug smuggling gang, lost a legal bid in the Balinese capital Denpasar to have their cases reviewed last week.
It effectively dashed their final hope of avoiding the firing squad, and their executions are expected to be carried out this month.
But their lawyer Todung Mulya Lubis told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) he planned one last attempt to save their lives by challenging Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s decision not to pardon them in an administrative court.
The legal move has been rarely attempted before, but Mulya said he did not believe Widodo could simply reject the men’s clemency pleas on the basis of a drug emergency.
Widodo has been a vocal supporter of capital punishment and warned Indonesia was in a state of emergency from drugs, with dozens of people dying every day.
“Well we have done almost everything and now we are planning to file another claim to the administrative court in Jakarta,” Mulya said.
“We will challenge the rejection of the clemency issued by the president, or made by the president,” he said.
“Why? Because we don’t think the president can reject all the clemency petitions based only on a drug emergency situation” he added.
Mulya said that instead Widodo should consider each case on its merits, pointing to Chan and Sukumaran’s reformation during their almost 10 years in Bali’s Kerobokan prison.
“The president should go into it one by one. You cannot just read that on papers and then make a rejection or refusal,” he said.
“That’s not the way to do it because we are talking about human life, so we should not treat people, petitioners, as numbers — treat them as human beings,” he added.
The ABC said such an administrative appeal was thought to have been attempted only once before, in 2008, and failed.
Chan and Sukumaran were arrested in 2005 on the holiday island of Bali and sentenced to death the following year for attempting to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.
On Sunday, senior religious leaders in Australia called on Jakarta to show mercy, but Indonesia’s top diplomat in the country insisted their executions would go ahead.
Jakarta last month executed six drug offenders, including five foreigners.