[JURIST] An Indonesian court has scheduled an appeal by two Australian drug smugglers on death row for Thursday March 12th. Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, the leaders of the “Bali Nine” drug smuggling organization, were granted the appeal despite President Joko Widodo’s [BBC profile] refusal to grant them clemency. Widodo has been a vocal supporter of using the death penalty for drug smugglers and traffickers, often stating that Indonesia is in a state of emergency due to the increasing narcotics trade. Sukumaran and Chan were sentenced to death in 2006 after trying to smuggle heroin out of Indonesia. Last month an appeal to reconsider their death penalty sentence was denied [Guardian report] by the administrative court, which stated that power to offer clemency was solely that of the president, and the court had no right to overturn it. Last week Indonesia rejected [BBC report] a last-ditch prisoner swap offer from Australia aimed at saving the lives of the two men.
Indonesia has been under severe international scrutiny due to its frequent use of the death penalty in recent sentencings. Last month a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] urged [JURIST report] the Indonesian government to halt all executions of people convicted of drug-related offenses. In January another spokesperson for the OHCHR voiced concern [JURIST report] over the continued use of the death penalty in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The OHCHR reported that eight more people convicted of drug trafficking in Vietnam had been sentenced to death. Also in January Brazil and the Netherlands recalled [JURIST report] their ambassadors from Indonesia after an Indonesian firing squad executed six convicted drug traffickers [JURIST report], sparking international condemnation from human rights groups and foreign leaders.