Bali Nine: Australian drug pair in new legal bid

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Media captionAndrew Chan (L) and Myuran Sukumaran are "bearing up remarkably well" says their lawyer Michael O'Connell

Lawyers for two Australian drug smugglers on death row in Indonesia say they will continue to fight for them, after losing a legal challenge.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, the leaders of the "Bali Nine" group of heroin smugglers, are set to be executed in Indonesia soon.

On Monday a court ruled they cannot challenge the president's decision to refuse them clemency.

But their lawyer said the case would now go to the constitutional court.

"We believe that these men over the last 10 years have rehabilitated themselves and we are very concerned that that fact has not been properly and genuinely considered by the Indonesian authorities and the Indonesian legal system," Michael O'Connell told the BBC.

"There is no further appeal that lies in the administrative court, however... Andrew and Myuran will file an application in the Indonesian Constitutional Court challenging the interpretation of the clemency law and arguing that the president has an obligation to properly and genuinely consider their exceptional rehabilitation."

The application would be filed this week, he said, with a preliminary hearing expected "a week or two afterwards".

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Image caption On Monday the administrative court ruled it had no authority to consider the men's case

'Playing with justice'

Both men had clemency appeals rejected by Indonesian President Joko Widodo earlier this year.

Mr Widodo, who took office last year, has a policy of denying clemency to drug offenders, saying the drug trade has caused huge damage to Indonesia.

In January he authorised the executions of six drug offenders, including five foreigners. The two Australians are in a second group, of 10 foreign nationals, to be put to death.

No date has been set for the executions, however. Indonesian authorities say they are waiting for all legal avenues be exhausted in all of the convicts' cases before the group are executed.

On Monday, responding to news of the constitutional court challenge, Indonesian Attorney-General Muhammad Prasetyo said: "The legal process is already done."

"This proves that they are simply trying to buy time. We can say they are playing with justice," the AFP news agency quoted him as saying.

But another lawyer for the men, Peter Morrissey, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the aim was to get the men's cases for clemency properly heard, not "some delaying tactic".

"No matter what our opponents might like to say or how they'd like to get around it, this is litigation."

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, in a statement on Monday, said it was "important that all legal processes are allowed to run their course".

Chan and Sukumaran were arrested in Bali in 2005 while attempting to smuggle heroin to Australia. A court ruled that they had organised a nine-member smuggling operation.

But their families have argued that they are now reformed characters and should be shown mercy. Australia has also mounted a passionate diplomatic campaign on their behalf.

Indonesia has faced criticism from other countries whose nationals are facing execution. The group of 10 includes people from Brazil, France, Nigeria and the Philippines among others.

Who are the Bali Nine?

  • The eight men and one woman were arrested in April 2005 at an airport and hotel in Bali, Indonesia after a tip-off from Australian police. They were trying to carry 8.3kg (18lb) of heroin back to Australia
  • In 2006 a court ruled that Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran had recruited the others and paid their costs. They were sentenced to death
  • The other seven are serving sentences of between 20 years and life, after some had death sentences revoked on appeal
  • Chan and Sukumaran have repeatedly appealed against their sentences and say they are reformed characters - Chan teaches Bible and cookery classes in prison while Sukumaran is an artist

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