Australia doing everything it can for Bali Nine death row drug convicts, says PM Abbott

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia is doing everything it can to save two drug smugglers facing the firing squad in Indonesia, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday after the pair lost their latest legal appeal.

On Monday, a Jakarta court dismissed Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran's challenge against the rejection of their pleas for clemency.

Indonesia's legal chief then said they had exhausted all options to avoid the death penalty, but their lawyers insist legal avenues remain open.

"We are continuing to do everything we possibly can for them," Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney in his first comments since Monday's decision. "That's what we're doing... Everyone knows Australia's position on the death penalty."

Mr Abbott said he had spoken to Indonesian President Joko Widodo again about the Bali pair.

"I've had a number of conversations with President Widodo on this issue. I'm not going to go into what was said, but I have certainly made our position very clear," he said.

Sukumaran, 33, and Chan, 31, 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 clemency, typically a death row convict's final chance of avoiding the firing squad, were rejected earlier this year by Mr Joko.

In Monday's ruling, the State Administrative Court upheld a decision that it does not have the authority to hear a challenge to Mr Joko's rejection.

Indonesia executed six drug offenders in January, including five foreigners, prompting a furious Brazil and the Netherlands - whose citizens were among those put to death - to recall their ambassadors.

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