9 Mar 2015

Families visit Bali Nine duo

7:34 pm on 9 March 2015

Five relatives of condemned Australian drug smugglers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran are making their first visit to the men at their island prison in central Java.

Australian's Myuran Sukumaran, left, and Andrew Chan are on death row in Indonesia.

Australian's Myuran Sukumaran, left, and Andrew Chan are on death row in Indonesia. Photo: AFP

Chan and Sukumaran have spent six days on Nusakambangan since their high-security transfer from Bali last week.

Family members followed the pair from Denpasar to Cilacap but have not seen them for seven days, after Chan's girlfriend and his brother were denied access to the pair's Bali prison just minutes before the transfer.

Chan's brother Michael and Sukumaran's brother Chinthu this morning spoke to assembled media before visiting the prison.

"It's been a few days, so you know, we are just looking forward to seeing them when we get over there, to give him a hug," Michael Chan said.

"We're also looking forward to it," Chinthu Sukumaran said.

"My mum, sister and I have been counting down the days. We've been told he's doing well.

"We want to see it for ourselves and make sure and see him to let we know that we love him."

Chan and Sukumaran have only been allowed visits from Australia's consul-general to Bali, Majell Hind, and Australian lawyer Julian McMahon under the terms of an international convention.

Diplomats and lawyers worked to secure the family visits on a general visit day for all the prisoners in the various compounds on the island.

Approved visitors are permitted on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Consular staff heading into and out of the Cilacap port have been enveloped by media, though diplomats do not expect that to happen today because the families appear to have secured access to drive their cars into the port area.

The family members boarded a wooden boat for the 400-metre journey across to Nusakambangan.

Multiple members of each family were allowed to go to Nusakambangan and were expected to spend up to four hours there.

The Chan and Sukumaran families plan to make a second visit on Wednesday.

Peter Morrissey, a lawyer for the men, said it was an emotional time for the pair and their families.

"The Indonesian authorities, generally speaking, are very humane about the way in which visits are conducted and we expect that they'll be allowed to have contact in peace and spend time together."

Appeal to be heard on Thursday

An Indonesian court will hear an appeal on Thursday from Chan and Sukumaran against president Joko Widodo's refusal to grant them clemency.

Tony Spontana, a spokesman for the country's attorney-general, said the executions would be on hold until all legal avenues were explored.

"We also pay attention and give respect to the legal process that is currently occurring," he said.

The Administrative Court last month dismissed a bid to challenge Mr Widodo's decision, saying clemency was the president's prerogative which it had no right to overturn.

Sukumaran and Chan's lawyers lodged an appeal against that dismissal and were awaiting judgment.

"The next hearing on Thursday will be the response from the president's team about our challenge," one of the pair's lawyers, Doly James, said.

"The reason for the rejection of clemency was unclear, when we had been very clear why these two deserved clemency."

Sukumaran and Chan were sentenced to death in 2006 for a plot to smuggle heroin into Australia.

-ABC

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