Legal lifeline thrown to Australians on Indonesian death row

Hundreds of people attend a candlelight vigil in Sydney's Martin Place to call for mercy for Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, January 29, 2015.

Story highlights

  • Application accepted by the court for a second judicial review of two members of 'Bali Nine'
  • Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran on list of inmates to face firing squad
  • Lawyers are seeking to commute their death sentences to life in prison

(CNN)Lawyers for two Australian men on death row in Indonesia attempted to throw them a legal lifeline on Friday, despite the government's recent insistence that there is no way out.

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, aged 31 and 33 respectively, were sentenced to death in 2006 for leading the so-called "Bali Nine" trafficking ring that attempted to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin to Australia.
Successive appeals have failed to have their sentences commuted, and both are on a list of inmates scheduled to die by firing squad.
    Myuran Sukumaran seen inside a holding on September 21, 2010.

    Application accepted

    On Friday, their Indonesian lawyer filed what's known as a PK to apply for a second judicial review.
    "It has been accepted, it will go to the courts, then it depends on the district court heads," Todung Mulya Lubis told media in Bali. "There should not be an execution because the legal process should be respected as well."
    The court will be asked to consider the men's rehabilitation during 10 years' of detention in Bali's Kerobokan prison. Chan now leads church prayers and is said to be a source of spiritual strength for other prisoners, while Sukumaran mentors other inmates in daily art classes.
    However, a spokesman for Indonesian Attorney-General H.M. Prasetyo, Tony Spontana, told CNN that at a meeting held on January 9 it was decided that only one judicial review would be allowed.
    He said the meeting included representatives from the attorney general's office, the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, the investigative department of the national police, the national anti-drug agency, and officials from the Supreme Court and Constitutional Court and "other related institutions."
    Portraits of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, as painted by Sukumaran.
    Lawyers for the men have pointed to a Constitutional Court ruling in 2013 which cleared the way for a second judicial review. However, Spontana said that ruling wasn't effective because the relevant regulations hadn't been implemented. Until they were, he said "we have to stick to the old rule that says judicial review is only possible for one time."'

    Foreign nationals on list

    The Australians are not the only foreigners awaiting execution by an Indonesia firing squad. Of 11 presidential decrees, eight relate to drug offenses. Of those eight, seven are foreign nationals, including the two Australians, Spontana said. The others are from Ghana, France, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Brazil. No date had been decided for their executions, he said.
    Brazilian Rodrigo Gularte could be the second of his countrymen killed in Indonesia in a matter of weeks.
    Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira at a press conference in Jakarta after his arrest in August 2003.
    On January 18, Indonesia executed Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira who was arrested at Jakarta airport in 2003 with 13 kilograms of cocaine.
    Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff reacted with outrage at the killing and recalled the country's ambassador from Indonesia for consultations. The Netherlands did the same after the shooting of its citizen, Ang Kiem Soei, who was convicted of running a factory that made ecstasy pills.
    The Philippines is reported to be seeking a judicial review in the case of its citizen, a woman who was arrested at Yogyakarta airport in April 2010 carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin on a flight from Malaysia. The French citizen has been named as Serge Atlaoui, who was sentenced to death in 2007, according to French press.
    Indonesia President: 'No compromise' for drug executions
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    'No compromise'

    After the most recent executions -- which were the first since 2013 -- Indonesia's president Joko Widodo told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that too many Indonesian lives were being lost to drugs.
    "Every day we have 50 people die because of narcotics, of drugs. In one year, it's 18,000 people who die because of narcotics. We are not going to compromise for drug dealers. No compromise. No compromise," he said.
    The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has expressed concern about the use of the death penalty for drug offenses.
    "According to international human rights jurisprudence, capital punishment could only be applied to the crime of murder or intentional killing," OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters.
    She said the U.N. was particularly concerned about "respect for due process" after Widodo stated he would categorically reject all appeals for clemency.