Two Australians who have been sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Indonesia will be able to pursue their next legal appeal, Indonesian authorities said on Saturday. Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, leaders of the Bali Nine group, will be given a hearing in a Jakarta court next Thursday, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
The two are set to face a firing squad for smuggling large quantities of heroin into Indonesia. The development comes shortly after Indonesia’s attorney general announced that their executions would be postponed, to complete preparations and to allow the legal appeals to run their course. The new hearing would give the duo a second chance to renew their request for clemency, which has been denied by President Joko Widodo. Attorney General H.M. Prasetyo had previously said that Widodo’s rejection nullified further legal appeals.
The issue has deeply affected relations between Indonesia and Australia, with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott calling the treatment of the duo “revolting” and revealing that a "final call" he had made on Friday had not elicited a response from Indonesia.
"I want to assure people that even at the 11th hour the Australian government we are doing everything we humanly can to let the Indonesian government and people know that it would be in neither in their best interests or their best values for these executions to go ahead," Abbott said, in a statement.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has said she will personally meet with the Indonesian ambassador to Australia about the “disproportionate use of force” in the smugglers' detainment, after they were transferred to an execution site amid heavy military presence, including a fighter jet escort, News.com.au reported. She also protested against pictures that showed them with a smiling local police chief, calling them “undignified and degrading,” Vision Radio reported.
"It seems that our citizens have been singled out for treatment designed to maximise publicity that was certainly at odds with the treatment of other citizens of other countries in the same position," Bishop said. The other drug felons who are set to be executed alongside the duo were reportedly transported in a small van, in contrast to Chan and Sukumaran’s high-profile transfer.
Earlier this week, Indonesia also rejected an Australian offer for a prisoner swap, which Prasetyo called “unthinkable,” adding that the country had no legal mechanism to arrange such a transfer. Indonesia’s judicial commission is also investigating allegations that officials in the first trial, where the duo was handed a death sentence, had asked for bribes.
Australian officials have widely condemned the scheduled executions, but the leaders of both nations have said that they will not let the incident affect their relations moving forward, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.
“Let's remember that a good relationship with Indonesia is very important to this country and whatever might happen in the next few days the relationship with Indonesia must endure," Abbott reportedly said. "But obviously this is a very difficult period for the relationship and I hope that even at this late hour the better angels of the Indonesian people's nature will reassert themselves."