Australian on Indonesian death row loses clemency bid

DENPASAR, Indonesia (AFP) - An Australian drug smuggler on death row in Indonesia has lost his appeal for presidential clemency, his final chance to avoid the firing squad, an official said Thursday, days after Jakarta executed five foreign drug offenders.

The Indonesian government said last week the trafficker, Andrew Chan, would be put to death with another Australian drug smuggler, Myuran Sukumaran, as they had committed their crime together.

Sukumaran's clemency appeal was rejected last month, and the attorney general had said authorities were waiting for the outcome of Chan's appeal.

There was no immediate response from the Indonesian authorities as to when the pair might be executed. New President Joko Widodo has taken a tough line on capital punishment, vowing no clemency for death row drug convicts.

The men were among a group of Australians, dubbed the "Bali Nine", arrested in 2005 for attempting to smuggle eight kilogrammes of heroin out of the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Both men were sentenced to death in 2006, and sought presidential clemency after losing appeals to Indonesia's Supreme Court in 2011. They are jailed in Bali's Kerobokan prison.

A spokesman for the district court in the Balinese capital Denpasar said he had received a "presidential decree on the rejection of clemency for Andrew Chan".

"The court chief then instructed... that the convict be informed," he said.

The letter, which was signed on January 17 and seen by AFP, said: "After careful consideration of the clemency appeal of the convict as listed in the presidential decree, it is assessed that there is not enough reason to grant clemency to the convict."

Fears are growing Chan and Sukumaran could face the firing squad soon, after Indonesia defied international appeals and went ahead with the execution of six drugs offenders, including five foreigners, at the weekend.

The move sparked a diplomatic storm, with Brazil and the Netherlands - a Brazilian and a Dutchman were among those put to death - recalling their ambassadors.

Following the executions, Australian Foreign Minister Julia Bishop said that Canberra would "continue to make representations at the highest level" to save the two Australian drug smugglers.