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Still hope for Bali Nine pair

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Campaigners for two Australian drug traffickers on death row in Indonesia haven’t given up hope that the men can be saved.

Australian supporters of Bali Nine death row inmates Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran say hope is not lost for the pair despite both having their last pleas for mercy rejected.

Local support for Chan and Sukumaran has soared since Chan was told on Thursday his bid for clemency from Indonesian President Joko Widodo had failed.

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Brigid Delaney, co-founder of the organisation Mercy Campaign, which is working to save the men’s lives, said support for Chan and Sukumaran was growing stronger, with more than 50,000 signatures gathered on two petitions seeking mercy for the men.

Interest in the case had been so strong the Mercy Campaign website crashed temporarily before being upgraded, and traffic on its Facebook site had increased “1000 per cent”, Ms Delaney said.

“Hope is not lost,” she said.

Final hopes for Chan, 31, and Sukumaran, 33, now rest on a judicial review being sought by their Indonesian and Australian lawyers, and continuing diplomatic efforts behind the scenes.

It is not clear that Indonesia’s supreme court will allow the review to proceed.

Ms Delaney said the lawyers hoped to present new evidence about the turnaround Chan and Sukumaran had made during their nearly 10 years in prison.

However, their first attempt to lodge the new appeal was foiled by a requirement that anyone seeking a review appear in person at the court – an option not open to the imprisoned Australians.

Chan, 31, is destined to face a firing squad for his 2005 drug trafficking offence, along with Sukumaran, 33, who has also lost his bid for a pardon.

News of Chan’s rejection came as the Australian lawyer for the pair, Julian McMahon, was visiting them in Bali’s Kerobokan prison.

Mr McMahon told the Nine Network that Chan prayed with a group of fellow inmates after receiving the news, then went to comfort another prisoner who was seriously ill.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the Australian government would not make further public comments but was “continuing to make every possible effort” to stop the executions.

“While Australia respects Indonesia’s sovereignty, we are asking that Indonesia reconsider its decision to execute two Australian citizens,” he said in a statement.

Mr Abbott said both men were reformed and had helped to rehabilitate other prisoners.

He said he had spoken with both men’s families on Friday and it was “an unimaginably difficult time” for them.

Deputy federal opposition leader Tanya Plibersek said the opposition stood with the government in pleading for clemency from Indonesia.

“Of course these two young men have done the wrong thing and of course they should be punished,” she said.

“But Labor always believes that the death penalty is wrong. The death penalty is wrong for anyone in any circumstance and we will always advocate for Australians facing the death penalty.”

Indonesia’s attorney-general has not named a time or date for the execution of Chan and Sukumaran.

Six people were executed for drug offences in Indonesia on Sunday – the first of 26 prisoners the country’s government has said will be killed this year.


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