France condemns Jakarta’s death row ‘failings’
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.
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.”