French President Francois Hollande has warned Indonesia that the execution of a Frenchman for drug offences would damage ties between the two nations.
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius summoned the Indonesian ambassador in Paris on Wednesday, a day after Serge Atlaoui, 51, had an appeal rejected by Indonesia’s Supreme Court, taking him closer to execution by firing squad for his role in a clandestine ecstasy lab near Jakarta.
Imprisoned in Indonesia for a decade, the father-of-four denies the charges, saying he was installing industrial machinery in what he thought was an acrylics factory.
His relatives have issued impassioned appeals in recent days, begging Hollande and the European Union to save him.
The French leader warned on Wednesday that executing Atlaoui ‘would be damaging for Indonesia, damaging for the relations that we would like to have with it’.
If put to death, Atlaoui would be the first Frenchman to be executed anywhere in nearly 40 years.
Atlaoui is one of several foreign drug convicts, including Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, on death row in Indonesia who recently lost appeals for presidential clemency. They are expected to be executed once final legal appeals are resolved.
Drug laws in Indonesia are among the world’s toughest.
President Joko 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 also 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.