Member of Bali Nine loses final appeal against death sentence for drug smuggling

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) - An Australian drug smuggler on death row in Indonesia has lost a bid for presidential clemency, his final chance to avoid execution, a court official said on Thursday.Myuran Sukumaran was one of nine Australians arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 8kg of heroin out of the Indonesian resort island of Bali.“The presidential decree signed on Dec 30 stipulates that the clemency of an Australian on death row, Myuran Sukumaran, has been rejected,” said Mr Hasoloan Sianturi, a spokesman for the court in Bali with jurisdiction for the case.Mr Sukumaran and another member of the so-called “Bali Nine” who was sentenced to death, Andrew Chan, lodged appeals for presidential clemency after their final court appeals were rejected in 2011.“After careful consideration on clemency request... there is not enough reason to grant a clemency,” said a copy of the presidential decree for Sukumaran.Mr Sianturi said the court received the presidential decision on Wednesday, but there was no information available on Chan’s appeal.The other seven members of the “Bali Nine” were given life sentences. One of them later had his sentence reduced to 20 years.Indonesia enforces some of the world’s toughest punishments for narcotics offences and there is strong public support for executing drug traffickers.President Joko Widodo pledged in December, shortly after taking office, there would be no pardons for drug traffickers on death row, including foreigners.Executions in Indonesia are usually carried out by firing squad.Mr Abbott said he hoped their executions would not go ahead, ABC News reported.

"We oppose the death penalty for Australians at home and abroad. We obviously respect the legal systems of other countries but where there is an attempt to impose the death penalty on an Australian we make the strongest possible diplomatic representations and as Julie Bishop has indicated that's happening right now," ABC News quoted him as saying.

"My profound hope is that these executions will not go ahead."

However, Mr Abbott also added that he would not jeopardise Australia-Indonesia ties, reported ABC News.

Five more foreigners, from Hong Kong and Malaysia, were arrested this week as they allegedly tried to smuggle 860kg of crystal methamphetamines through a port near the capital of Jakarta.