BALI Nine drug traffickers Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, who must now win clemency from Indonesia’s president if they are to escape the death penalty, are determined to face the future with courage and dignity, their lawyer says.
The Indonesian Supreme Court on Wednesday announced it had rejected Sukumaran’s final appeal, known as a judicial review, in relation to a 2005 plot to smuggle more than eight kilograms of heroin from Bali to Australia.
Sukumaran, 30, now joins Andrew Chan, 27, as the only two members of the Bali Nine still facing death for their ringleader roles in the drug trafficking conspiracy.
Their Australian-based lawyer, Julian McMahon, said on Thursday that it was likely the pair would now apply for clemency from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
Mr McMahon said he had spoken to Sukumaran’s family since the court’s decision was announced.
“His mother in particular is devastated,” he said.
However, he said the decision on Sukumaran’s appeal had been expected, after the same court last month announced Chan had lost his appeal.
“Last Thursday I spent a day with Andrew and Myuran discussing what the future would hold,” he said.
“They are both determined to face the future with courage and dignity and to keep doing the kind of the work in the prison that they have been doing for the last couple of years.”
Their Indonesian-based lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, said Sukumaran had been told of the court’s decision.
“He’s been told… he’s taking it calmly but is bitterly disappointed,” Mr Lubis said.
“We cannot despair, or give up.”
It is possible their likely bid for clemency will be raised by Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd in Jakarta on Friday.
Mr McMahon said he had “a lot of confidence in the foreign minister to put the case very strongly and well on behalf of our clients”.
He said the critical issue now was to highlight the extent of the pair’s rehabilitation and their positive influence in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison through their education work with other prisoners.
“We need to bring to the president’s attention the significance of that rehabilitation,” he said.
“The system should then give them some credit for that and not treat them as the worst of the worst, requiring execution in the jungle.”
A spokesman for Dr Yudhoyono on Thursday said the president was aware of the cases.
“He’s very much aware of the issue,” he said.
When asked if he would consider a request for clemency, the spokesman said: “This is the same expectation that he holds when he asks the same request of other leaders.”
“Any leader would try their best to try to ask for clemency for their citizens, but they also must respect the rule of law that applied in that country,” he said, reinforcing comments made last month by Dr Yudhoyono.
“This also applies to non-Indonesians facing the same situation here in Indonesia.”
However, Dr Yudhoyono has in the past singled out drug traffickers when saying he was opposed to showing leniency for people on death row.
Sukumaran was the last of the nine Australians convicted over the 2005 plot with an appeal pending.
Chan’s appeal was rejected on May 12, the same day the court commuted fellow Bali Nine member Scott Rush’s death sentence to life in prison.
Rush has said he plans to appeal for clemency from the Indonesian president.
Like Rush, five other members of the drug conspiracy, Martin Stephens, Matthew Norman, Si Yi Chen, Tan Duc Than Nguyen and Michael Czugaj, are also serving life sentences.
The final member of the drug ring, Renae Lawrence, is serving a 20-year sentence, which has already been reduced by almost two years.