JAKARTA, Indonesia – The French ambassador in Jakarta on Friday, April 17, warned Indonesia that executing a Frenchman on death row on drugs charges would have “consequences” for the bilateral relationship.
“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-4 has always denied the charges, saying he was installing industrial machinery in what he thought was an acrylics factory.
He has appealed his case before the Supreme Court, and a verdict is expected imminently.
If rejected, his execution and that of other foreigners – including citizens from Australia, Brazil, Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria – could be very soon. (READ:
The Indonesian government has already compiled a list of those to face the firing squad next after conducting a round of executions in January, the first since 2013.
In the Atlaoui case, 8 others arrested alongside the Frenchman were also sentenced to death.
But “what appears shocking to us is that our compatriot is the only one on the list to be executed”, said the ambassador.
“I recall Serge Atlaoui was convicted as a chemist, when he was a solderer with a minor role in this affair,” she said, adding the French government were “prepared to assist Indonesia in its fight against drug trafficking”.
Drug laws in Indonesia are among the toughest in the world.
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, who took office in October, has rejected all requests for clemency from drug dealers sentenced to death, claiming the country is facing a narcotics emergency.
However Indonesia has been actively trying to save its citizens on death row abroad. Jakarta protested the execution this week of two Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia. (READ: Saudi executions won’t affect Indonesia plans, official says)
Atlaoui’s wife Sabine pleaded with the president, saying her husband did not deserve to die and her family had been living through “psychological torture”. (READ: Wife of Frenchman on Indonesia death row clings to hope)
“A member of the prosecutor’s office has already asked us for my husband’s measurements for his future coffin, which is unimaginable and inconceivable given the situation we are in,” she said. – Rappler.com