The impending executions of convicted Bali Nine members Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran in Indonesia could be delayed for months as Filipina Mary Jane Fiesta Veloso, also part of the drug trafficking group, has been granted a judicial review. The delay could buy time for Chan’s and Sukumaran’s lawyers to prepare an appeal after they were denied clemency.
Indonesian Supreme Court spokesman Suhadi said a panel of judges would be appointed this week. "After that the panel will examine and study her case. It will take months," Suhadi told the local newspaper Kompas Tuesday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. Case reviews typically take three months. It is unclear when Veloso's judicial review was granted.
Veloso’s lawyer argued that she deserved a case review because she got an unfair trial – the translator in her trial was allegedly only a student who did not have a license from the Association of Indonesian Translators, according to the Herald. Veloso, a domestic worker, was sentenced to death in 2010 for attempting to smuggle nearly six pounds of heroin. She insisted she was deceived by an acquaintance and had no idea the drugs were in her suitcase.
Chan and Sukumaran, both Australians, will have their appeals heard Thursday. Chan’s clemency plea was rejected by President Joko Widodo in late January and Sukumaran’s plea was denied in December. Indonesian authorities said in early March that the pair will be allowed to appeal the president’s decision, even though Attorney General Muhammad Prasetyo previously said the rejection was final.
Attorney general spokesman Tony Spontana said last Thursday that Indonesian authorities would wait for all outstanding legal processes to be resolved before executing the Bali Nine group at the same time. "We don't want one to have to wait for another's execution before his own. That will affect the convicts' psychological state," Spontana said, according to the Herald. It was also reported that nine of the 10 convicts have launched legal proceedings, including Chan and Sukumaran.
Indonesia was rumored to be holding off on the executions until after late April, when leaders across Asia and Africa would gather in Jakarta and Bandung for the 60th anniversary of the Asia-Africa forum, a “well-connected source” told News Corp. Australia Thursday. The source said that because there were two Nigerians and one Ghanaian in addition to Veloso due for executions, delaying it would give “President Joko Widodo his best opportunity to make a statesmanlike gesture of clemency.”
There was no indication that Widodo has changed his decision so far. Another reason for the delay was that Indonesia’s Judicial Commission was investigating claims that the judges who handed out the death sentences offered lighter sentences in exchange for bribes, according to the Herald.
Australian media also questioned Widodo's standards for mercy. “Mr. Widodo has repeatedly said he will not grant clemency to drug offenders but he has no problem doing so for three death row inmates who were due to be executed for murder,” The Australian reported Thursday, referring to Dwi Trsina Firmansyah and two other men who had their sentences reduced to life imprisonment.
Australian political leaders have been trying to rescue Chan and Sukumaran. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop made an offer early March for a prisoner swap with Indonesia, but was rejected. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has been trying to contact Widodo regarding Chan and Sukumaran, and Australia offered last Thursday to cover the two's prison expenses in order to keep them from the firing squad.