France con­demns Jakarta’s death row ‘fail­ings’

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY MICHEL SAILHAN

Paris on Thurs­day ac­cused In­done­sia of “se­ri­ous dys­func­tion” in its legal sys­tem that led to a French­man be­ing sen­tenced to death, deep­en­ing a diplo­matic spat over the up­com­ing ex­e­cu­tion.

Serge At­laoui, 51, lost his fi­nal ap­peal against his death sen­tence for drug of­fences this week, tak­ing him closer to ex­e­cu­tion by fir­ing squad.

French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande warned In­done­sia that ex­e­cut­ing At­laoui would dam­age ties be­tween the two na­tions and on Wed­nes­day For­eign Min­is­ter Lau­rent Fabius sum­moned the In­done­sian am­bas­sador to dis­cuss the case.

Fabius also wrote a let­ter to his In­done­sian coun­ter­part Retno Mar­sudi in which he said At­laoui had been the vic­tim of a hasty trial and was sen­tenced “in a rul­ing con­tain­ing er­ro­neous state­ments.”

“The even­tual ex­e­cu­tion of Mr. At­laoui would be even more in­com­pre­hen­si­ble to the gov­ern­ment and French peo­ple as, due to se­ri­ous dys­func­tion in the In­done­sian legal sys­tem, he did not ben­e­fit from his due rights,” wrote Fabius.

At­laoui was ar­rested near Jakarta in 2005 in a se­cret lab­o­ra­tory pro­duc­ing ec­stasy and was sen­tenced to death two years later.

‘Par­tic­u­larly shock­ing’

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.

Fabius said it was “par­tic­u­larly shock­ing” that the Supreme Court de­ci­sion was handed down in only a few weeks with­out call­ing wit­nesses, while the In­done­sian ring­leaders’ case had been sub­ject to hear­ings for over a year.

“This is a dis­crim­i­na­tory pro­ce­dure against one of our cit­i­zens who does not ben­e­fit from the same guar­an­tees as In­done­sian cit­i­zens in the same case.”

Fabius said the death sen­tence con­tained er­rors de­scrib­ing At­laoui as a chemist while wit­ness state­ments proved he was work­ing as a welder in the fac­tory where the drugs were be­ing pro­duced.

France “ur­gently re­quests that In­done­sia re­spect its own rule of law and in­ter­na­tional obligations of the con­ven­tion to which it be­longs,” said Fabius, urg­ing the coun­try to grant At­laoui cle­mency.

Re­spond­ing to the let­ter, Mar­sudi said she would dis­cuss it with Fabius by tele­phone on Thurs­day evening.

“I will ex­plain the legal sys­tem in In­done­sia and I will ex­plain the emer­gency sit­u­a­tion caused by drug crimes in In­done­sia,” she told AFP.

“This is a legal af­fair. If there’s in­deed a con­cern on the legal sys­tem then it should be proven legally.”

The EU also weighed in on the case, say­ing it takes a “strong and prin­ci­pled po­si­tion against the death penalty in all cases.”

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