Indonesia prepares to execute Frenchman

Indonesia prepares to execute Frenchman
French drug convict and death row prisoner Serge Atlaoui (C) is escorted by police upon his arrival at Tangerang court outside Jakarta on April 1, 2015. Photo: AFP
Desperate diplomatic calls from France and the EU urging Indonesia to spare the life of a Frenchman on death row appear have fallen on deaf ears with the convicted drug trafficker set to be executed in the coming days.

Indonesia is going ahead with the final preparations to execute nine foreign drug convicts despite outrage from both France and  the European Union.

Ten convicts — from Australia, France, Brazil, the Philippines, Nigeria, Ghana and Indonesia — will face the firing squad after losing appeals for presidential clemency.

Indonesia has advised consular officials to go to Nusakambangan, the high-security prison island where its executions are carried out, and where all of the death row convicts have now been transported to.

The government said an exact date for the executions could not be decided yet, as a judicial review was still pending for the sole Indonesian in the group of 10 people who face death by firing squad.

"We hope that the decision will be made as soon as possible so that we will have a chance to determine the D-Day of the executions," Tony Spontana, spokesman for Indonesia's attorney-general, told reporters.

The preparations come despite increasingly desperate calls from French and EU leaders for Indonesia not to go ahead with the executions

The EU on Thursday attacked the death sentence imposed on a Frenchman in Indonesia saying it was no answer to drug trafficking.

"The European Union is completely opposed to the death penalty. It cannot be the answer to drug trafficking," EU president Donald Tusk said, adding that he was referring to Serge Atlaoui who lost his final appeal against his death sentence earlier this week.

There have also been especially sharp exchanges between France and Indonesia in recent days over Atlaoui's fate, with Paris saying his trial had not been properly conducted.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius accused Indonesia of "serious dysfunction" in its legal system that led to Frenchman Serge Atlaoui being sentenced to death, and said his execution would be "incomprehensible".

President Francois Hollande said he "would do everything possible up to the last moment" to prevent Atlaoui's execution.

"Abolishing the death penalty is for us an absolute principle. For Serge Atlaoui, death cannot be the ultimate sanction," said Hollande after attending an emergency EU summit on migrants in Brussels.

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

EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini issued a statement earlier Thursday saying the 28-nation bloc was ready to work with Indonesia on drug trafficking.

"The recent rejections in Indonesia of retrials, including in the case of a French citizen, bring closer the regrettable prospect of further executions," Mogherini said.

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