France wants halt to execution of its citizen
The Jakarta Post
The Jakarta Post
France has requested Indonesia to halt the plan to execute one of its citizens who was put on death row after being convicted of drug charges, warning that the relationship between the two countries could suffer if it goes ahead.
'If the execution is carried out, it will not be without consequence for our bilateral relationship,' Ambassador Corinne Breuze told reporters in Jakarta, adding that France, which abolished the death penalty in 1981, was opposed to capital punishment in every circumstance.
Serge Atlaoui, 51, was arrested near Jakarta in 2005 in a secret laboratory producing ecstasy and sentenced to death two years later.
Imprisoned in Indonesia for a decade, the father-of-four has always denied the charges, saying he was installing industrial machinery in what he thought was an acrylics factory.
He has appealed for his case to be reviewed by the Supreme Court and a verdict on that is expected imminently.
If rejected, his execution and that of other foreigners ' including citizens of Australia, Brazil, the Philippines, Ghana and Nigeria ' could occur very soon.
Breuze said that Atlaoui was wrongly prosecuted.
'News that said Serge was caught with 138 kilograms of methamphetamine, 290 kilograms of ketamine and 316 drums of drug-precursor chemicals are nonsense and misleading. All those goods were confiscated from the factory along with 17 other people. It's far too much to consider Serge the only person to be responsible for all the seized goods,' she said.
The French government also questions the Attorney General's Office (AGO) for putting Serge on the list of people to be executed very soon, while the others detained together with him are not on the list.
'Is it because he is a foreign national?' asked Atlaoui's lawyer, Nancy Yuliana.
France also questions the Supreme Court's (MA) ruling to uphold Atlaoui's death penalty on the basis of his role as a chemist, while the lower court considered him as the mastermind in the drug-running operation.
'Serge is no more than just a technician. His role was minimum in this case and all testimonies supported that,' Dreuze said.
The ambassador expected the Supreme Court, which is currently reviewing Atlaoui's case, would work professionally and independently.
She elaborated that France believes the death penalty is not a proper response to drug smuggling. 'Therefore, France continuously condemns the application of the death penalty all over the world,' she said, adding that the French government is ready to help Indonesia eradicate drug smuggling.
Serge was detained in 2005 in a drug factory in Tangerang, Banten, West Java. He was first sentenced to life in prison by the Tangerang District Court in November 2006. Prosecutors appealed to the Banten High Court, which changed his sentence to death. Then in 2007 Atlaoui appealed to the MA, but his appeal was rejected.
Serge filed for a case review with the MA after President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo rejected his clemency plea in 2014. The MA is now studying the case review proposal.
Attorney General M. Prasetyo said that prosecutors had not yet set a date for executing Atlaoui. (saf)
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