Indonesian court to rule next week on death row Frenchman's appeal

15th June 2015, Comments 0 comments

An Indonesian court will rule next week on a French drug convict's attempt to avoid execution by challenging the president's refusal to grant him clemency.

Serge Atlaoui will learn next Monday, June 22, whether the Jakarta State Administrative Court will allow his appeal to proceed, chief judge Ujang Abdullah told a brief hearing on Monday.

Atlaoui, 51, had been due to face the firing squad with seven other foreign drug convicts in April. But he won a temporary reprieve after authorities agreed to let an outstanding legal appeal run its course.

He is challenging President Joko Widodo's decision to reject his request for clemency, typically a death row convict's final hope of avoiding execution -- claiming the leader did not properly consider his case.

The administrative court had already decided in April that it did not have the jurisdiction to hear the appeal because granting clemency is the prerogative of the president.

Atlaoui's lawyers are now challenging that decision. If the latest appeal fails, his lawyers have said they may pursue other legal avenues.

He was arrested in a 2005 raid on a secret drug laboratory outside Jakarta, with authorities accusing him of being a "chemist" at the site.

He has maintained his innocence, claiming that he was installing machinery in what he thought was an acrylics plant. France has mounted a diplomatic campaign to save him, warning Indonesia of unspecified consequences if he is put to death.

Indonesia's execution in April of foreign drug convicts -- two from Australia, one from Brazil, and four Nigerians -- sparked international anger, with Canberra temporarily recalling its ambassador.

However Widodo has insisted he will not change course on the death penalty, saying Indonesia faces an emergency due to rising drug use.

© 2015 AFP

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