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Myuran Sukumaran (L) and Andrew Chan were convicted in 2006

Death-Row Australians Lose Clemency Appeal

Two drug smugglers face a firing squad for their role in an Indonesian heroin plot, despite an appeal for mercy from Australia.

Two Australians facing a firing squad for drug smuggling have had their appeal for clemency rejected by an Indonesian court, Sky News reports.  Andrew Chan, 31, was found guilty in 2006 along with Myuran Sukumaran, 33, of being the ringleaders of a gang which plotted to smuggle heroin out of the country.  The pair had challenged the court’s decision not to hear an appeal against an earlier decision by Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo’s to refuse them clemency.

The attorney general’s office said that the ruling handed down by a court in Jakarta left him with no further legal avenues to avoid the death penalty. Australia has been pursuing a campaign to save the men from a firing squad, stressing they have been rehabilitated while in prison. The pair are among 10 drug convicts due to be executed at the prison island of Nusakambangan. Others in the group include citizens of France, Brazil, the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia.

The case has heightened diplomatic tensions between Australia and Indonesia with Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying he was “revolted” by the planned executions. But President Widodo has previously warned foreign governments seeking clemency against interfering in his country’s affairs. The pair lost an appeal in February, though Indonesia’s attorney general is awaiting the outcome of appeals by three remaining death-row inmates before setting a date for the executions.

A spokesman has previously said the executions will be carried out together, but they could be conducted in batches. Indonesia has harsh penalties for drug trafficking and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap.

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