Bali Nine pair Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran lose bid to challenge clemency decision

    The Australians’ appeal against the president’s decision not to give them clemency fails but their lawyer says he will now file a challenge to the constitutional court

    Guardian staff | Monday 6 April 2015 08.09 BST

    A Jakarta court has thrown out a bid by Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan to challenge the decision to deny them clemency.

    The unusual appeal in the state administrative court in Jakarta on Monday appeared likely to be the Australian pair’s last legal avenue to save them from the firing squad for their involvement in the 2005 Bali Nine heroin smuggling ring.

    However, lawyer Leonard Arpan said after the court’s decision on Monday that he would file a legal challenge to the Indonesian constitutional court in the hopes of delaying their execution.

    “We will continue our legal efforts,” he told reporters. The attorney general’s office has said there were no further legal avenues.

    “We will submit a constitutional review request to the constitutional court regarding the clemency law that wasn’t mentioned in today’s hearing.

    “We demand a clear explanation of the president’s obligations in issuing clemency.”

    The application would be filed this week in conjunction with human rights groups.

    “We believe we still have to take this action because in this country, no matter what citizen you are, they have the right to defend their lives,” he said.

    In February the court had rejected the pair’s challenge, determining the decrees by president Joko Widodo were not within its jurisdiction.

    The pair’s lawyers had hoped a positive result would have allowed them to argue that Widodo did not fulfil his obligations when he issued a blanket rejection of clemency to Chan and Sukumaran, as he plans to do to more than 50 other death row drug offenders.

    But on Monday presiding judge Ujang Abdullah upheld the original decision that the court does not have jurisdiction to rule on the matter.

    Ruling on Chan’s case, he told the court: “The appeal by the challenger is rejected.” The verdict on Sukumaran followed 30 minutes later.
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    The court said the clemency decision came under the constitution, and was therefore not under the jurisdiction of the administrative court.

    The court could only hear matters to do with regulations and other matters created by parliament or government. Clemency did come under that.

    The pair are on Nusakambangan, central Java, where they will be executed if their legal efforts fail. The Indonesian authorities are waiting for 10 prisoners in line for the firing squad to exhaust their legal options before setting a date for their executions.

    The Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop said in a statement that the government was “disappointed” at the court’s decision but promised to keep pressing for clemency.

    “Both men have undergone extensive rehabilitation,” she said, “and I will continue to make representations to my counterpart, just as Australia will continue to use all diplomatic options to seek a stay of execution. Again, the Australian government respectfully requests the president to review their pleas for clemency.”

    Labor leaders Bill Shorten and Tanya Plibersek pleaded with Indonesia to grant the pair a stay of execution. “While there’s life, there’s hope. We will not give up,” they said.