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DRUGS

Hollande urged to save death row Frenchman

Relatives of a Frenchman on death row in Indonesia for drug offences begged President Francois Hollande and the European Union to save him after his last chance appeal was rejected by the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Hollande urged to save death row Frenchman
French drug trafficker Serge Atlaoui is escorted by armed Indonesian elite police commandos following a court hearing

"Our family calls on President Francois Hollande and the European Union to do everything possible to save Serge Atlaoui from the firing squad," his brother Andre told AFP, describing his "dismay" and "lack of understanding" at the court's decision.

Indonesia's Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Atlaoui on death row for drug offences, taking him and a group of other foreigners closer to execution by firing squad.

Serge Atlaoui, 51, 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.

He is one of several foreign drug convicts on death row in Indonesia who recently lost appeals for presidential clemency, typically a last chance to avoid the firing squad. They are expected to be executed once final legal appeals are resolved.

In a further bid to avoid execution, Atlaoui filed a request for a judicial review of his case at the Supreme Court.

However Suhadi, one of the judges assessing his case, said the court rejected his application on Tuesday.

"A panel of three judges has rejected (the request) for a judicial review from Frenchman Serge Atlaoui," said Suhadi, who goes by one name and is also the Supreme Court spokesman.

He said there was no new evidence presented — a requirement for a judicial review — and the reasons put forward were not sufficient.

Several other death row convicts also have legal bids outstanding, including two high-profile Australian drug traffickers who have lost several appeals but are now taking their case to the Constitutional Court, although authorities insist they have no more options.

A Ghanaian among the group is appealing to the Supreme Court.

The French ambassador to Indonesia warned last week that executing Atlaoui would have "consequences" for relations between Paris and Jakarta.

Australia has issued a similar warning.

"Neither France nor Australia can tolerate the death penalty being imposed on our citizens at home or abroad," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in Paris after meeting her counterpart Laurent Fabius.

"We respectfully request that he (President Joko Widodo) show the same clemency towards the French and Australian citizens as Indonesia seeks other countries to show towards Indonesian citizens who are facing death row in other countries."

Drug laws in Indonesia are among the world's toughest.

Widodo, who took office in October, has been a vocal supporter of putting drug traffickers to death, saying the country is facing a narcotics emergency.

However Indonesia has been actively trying to save its own citizens on death row abroad — Jakarta last week protested at the execution of two Indonesian women in Saudi Arabia.

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DRUGS

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

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