Australians on Indonesia death row submit appeal evidence

JAKARTA (AFP) - Lawyers for two Australian drug smugglers facing execution in Indonesia submitted evidence to a court on Wednesday as part of the men's latest attempt to avoid the firing squad. A French death row convict had his appeal adjourned to next week.

The Australians' legal team, in its latest bid to avoid execution, are arguing against President Joko Widodo's decision to reject their pleas for clemency, saying he failed to assess their rehabilitation or give reasons for his decision.

The Jakarta State Administrative Court dismissed the bid last month, saying clemency was the president's prerogative. The Australians' lawyers are now appealing that decision.

At at brief hearing on Wednesday, they submitted several documents to the court related to laws on the President's prerogative, said lawyer Leonard Aritonang without giving further details. The lawyers will return to court on Monday with an expert witness.

Serge Atlaoui, a Frenchman on death row since 2007 after being convicted of drugs charges, is also trying to avoid the firing squad by applying for a judicial review of his sentence.

But his case at the Tangerang District Court, outside Jakarta, was adjourned on Wednesday until April 1 after he failed to show up for the hearing to sign paperwork that will allow the case to be transferred to the Supreme Court.

Lawyer Nancy Yuliana said there had been a "problem with regard to the funding of transportation" to bring Atlaoui from jail on Nusakambangan to the court.

Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug trafficking gang, were sentenced to death in 2006 for trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia.

Their appeals for presidential clemency, typically a death row convict's final chance of avoiding the firing squad, were recently rejected by Mr Joko.

The men, in their early 30s, are expected to be executed at the same time as eight other drug offenders. In addition to the Frenchman, these include convicts from Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana and the Philippines and one Indonesian.

Jakarta initially said the executions would take place in February and nothing could stop them going ahead. However, the authorities backed off following an international outcry and are now letting all pending legal appeals run their course.

Sukumaran and Chan were transferred earlier this month from jail on Bali to Nusakambangan prison island off Java, where they will be put to death.