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EU opposed to Indonesia’s death sentence for Frenchman

24 April 2015 8:33

In this file photo taken on March 11, 2015, French drug trafficker Serge Atlaoui is escorted by armed Indonesian elite police commandos following a court hearing in Tangerang near the capital, Jakarta. © AFP

The European Union (EU) chief has lashed out at Indonesia for handing down a death sentence to a French citizen convicted of drug trafficking, saying the ruling is not the answer to the problem.

EU President Donald Tusk said Friday that Indonesia’s decision to carry out the execution of Serge Atlaoui, a French national who lost his last appeal earlier this week, could not provide a solution to the problem of drug trafficking in the country.

“The European Union is completely opposed to the death penalty. It cannot be the answer to drug trafficking,” said Tusk.

Atlaoui, 51, is convicted of having a major hand in a clandestine ecstasy lab near Jakarta and is set to be executed by the firing squad. Incarcerated in the East Asian country for 10 years, the French citizen has denied the charges, saying he was installing machinery in a place where he thought was a factory.

The decision by Indonesia’s Supreme Court to reject Atlaoui’s appeal has infuriated Paris, with high-ranking French officials warning Jakarta that the execution would seriously harm the ties between France and Indonesia.

France’s Foreign Ministry has fiercely protested against the move, intensifying efforts to save him through diplomatic channels including to pile up more pressure on Jakarta through third party organizations like the EU.

French President Francois Hollande said Wednesday that the carrying out of the execution “would be damaging for Indonesia, damaging for the relations that we would like to have with it.”

If executed, Atlaoui would be the first French citizen to be put to death anywhere in 40 years.

Indonesia has one of the harshest legal systems when it comes to dealing with drug trafficking, with the incumbent President Joko Widodo staunchly supporting the death sentence for smugglers.

Two other foreign nationals, namely Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, have also lost their appeals for presidential clemency in similar cases. Earlier in the year, a Brazilian and a Dutch national were executed over their role in drug-related cases.

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