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Indonesia court rejects Australians' appeal against death penalty

An Indonesian court has rejected appeals by two Australian men convicted of drug trafficking. This paves the way for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran to face execution by firing squad.

The State Administrative Court in the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, ruled on Monday against the appeals launched by defense teams for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran against President Joko Widodo's rejection of their pleas for clemency.

"The appeal by the challenger is rejected," presiding Judge Ujang Abdullah said, ruling on Chan's pleas.

In its ruling, the court said that it had no jurisdiction to examine the president's rejection of a request for clemency. The defense teams for Chan and Sukumaran argued the president had not given due consideration to their cases.

The two Australians were arrested in 2005 and convicted in February 2006 of plotting to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

With Monday's decision, Chan and Myuran appeared to have exhausted the last legal recourse that could prevent them from being executed by firing squad on Indonesia's prison island of Nusakambangan.

Citizens of France, Brazil, the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia are also among a group of 10 convicts on death row in Indonesia.

Diplomatic tensions

The cases of Chan and Myuran have generated diplomatic tension between Indonesia and Australia.

Shortly after the court rejected a previous appeal for clemency from the Australian nationals' lawyers, President Widodo warned against foreign governments trying to intervene on behalf of any of the 11 foreigners on death row in Indonesia.

"The first thing I need to say firmly is that there shouldn't be any intervention towards the death penalty, because it is our sovereign right to exercise our law," President Widodo said.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott had previously suggested that Jakarta should not forget the significant aid his country had provided to Indonesia following the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

pfd/kms (Reuters, AFP, dpa)

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