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Indonesian Court Delays Hearing of Australian Death Row Convicts

An Indonesian police stands guard in Cilacap, Central Java, Indonesia as a ferry, center background, with Indonesian police armored vehicles carrying two Australian prisoners arrives at Nusakambangan island, Wednesday, March 4, 2015.

Two Australian drug convicts on death row in Indonesia will not be executed this month after a court on Thursday postponed their appeal hearing against the rejection of a request for presidential clemency.

“Today's hearing is closed and it will be continued next Wednesday on March 25, 2015,” Judge Ujang Abdullah told the administrative court in east Jakarta.

Australians Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan have already been transferred to the prison island of Nusakambangan, where the executions are due to take place.

The two Australians are among a group of 10 drug convicts due to be executed together by firing squad. Others in the group include citizens from France, Brazil, the Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria and Indonesia.

At least half of the convicts have ongoing legal challenges.

Sukumaran and Chan were arrested in 2005 as the ringleaders of a plot to smuggle eight kilograms of heroin out of Indonesia.

Their lawyer will present more evidence on the hearing on March 25, while the defense, representing the President, will submit evidence on March 30.

Final arguments are expected to be heard on April 1 and a verdict announced soon after.

“We are not looking to sue the President for whether he should or should not accept [the clemency plea], but the President had to have fulfilled his legal responsibility [to review the case] before rejecting the plea, but they did not answer [whether he did] that,” said Leonard Arfan, the lawyer for the two Australians.

The attorney general has said it would not set a date for the executions until all of the legal processes are completed for all 10 on death row.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla told Reuters on Wednesday it could take weeks or even months for the executions to take place.

Indonesia has harsh penalties for drug trafficking and resumed executions in 2013 after a five-year gap. Five foreigners were among six people executed in January, the first executions since President Widodo took office in October.

With the upcoming executions, Indonesia will have exercised the death penalty more times in a single year than ever before.