Australian "Bali Nine" heroin smuggler loses appeal

A top member of the so-called Bali Nine heroin trafficking syndicate, Myuran Sukumaran, has lost his final appeal against a death sentence in Indonesia for heroin smuggling.

The decision by Indonesia's Supreme Court follows a similar rejection for fellow Bali Nine member Andrew Chan last month, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Another Bali Nine member, Scott Rush, recently had his death sentence commuted to life on appeal. However, Rush was one of the couriers while Chan and Sukumaran were classified as Bali Nine ringleaders. Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, treats drug crime harshly.

The latest verdict means Sukumaran and Chan will be shot dead by a firing squad unless Indonesia's president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. However, Yudhoyono recently said publicly that he does not give pardons to those on death row, even if they are foreigners.

The Australian government has repeatedly urged Indonesia to show leniency to the Australians, including in personal pleas to Yudhoyono, according to the  SMH.

The Bali Nine smugglers were caught by Indonesian police in Bali on a tip-off from the Australian Federal Police. As a result of the death sentences, Australia — which does not support capital punishment — has put in place measures to prevent the police from putting Australian lives at risk when co-operating with overseas authorities.

Both Sukumaran and Chan have admitted their guilt and apologized. Chan has developed a strong Christian faith and has said he doesn't fear death.

Foreign minister Kevin Rudd will likely raise the issue of the death penalty when he visits Jakarta on Friday, the SMH reports.