End of Road for Frenchman Set to Die in Indonesia

Court denies Serge Atlaoui's final appeal; execution planned after July 17
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 22, 2015 7:00 AM CDT
End of Road for Frenchman Set to Die in Indonesia
In this March 11, 2015 file photo, Serge Atlaoui, center, is escorted by armed police officers upon arrival for his judicial review hearing at the district court in Tangerang, Indonesia.   (Tatan Syuflana)

(Newser) – An Indonesian court today denied the final appeal of a French citizen who faces execution for drug offenses, setting the stage for diplomatic retaliation by France after executions of other foreigners strained relations with Australia and Brazil. Eight people were executed in April; Serge Atlaoui, 51, wasn't part of that group after his lawyers made a last-ditch appeal—one that had little chance of success after President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo denied clemency in December. The administrative court in Jakarta says it did not have judicial authority to overturn a presidential rejection of clemency. Officials have been at pains to show Atlaoui was not denied any of his rights under Indonesian law after France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius condemned the handling of his case.

French President Francois Hollande has warned of diplomatic consequences and possible economic fallout if Atlaoui is executed. The Frenchman was arrested in 2005 for involvement in an ecstasy factory on the outskirts of Jakarta. His lawyers say he was employed as a welder at the factory and did not understand what the chemicals on the premises were used for. "We know and believe that our client is innocent," says one lawyer, adding the legal fight will continue even though the court says all legal options are exhausted. A rep for the attorney general says the execution will happen after Ramadan, which ends July 17 in Indonesia. Muslim-majority Indonesia takes a hardline stance against drug crimes and resumed executions in 2013. So far this year it has executed 14 people, mostly foreigners, convicted in drug cases. (Read more Indonesia stories.)

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