European Union says imminent execution of drug convicts “regrettable”

Jakarta – The European Union on Thursday criticized Indonesia’s plan to execute 10 drug convicts, saying that the death penalty was not a solution to the country’s growing drug problem.

A French citizen, Serge Atlaoui, is among 10 death-row inmates facing the firing squad for drug trafficking. The Supreme Court this week rejected his request for a case review.

“The recent rejections in Indonesia of retrials, including in the case of a French citizen, bring closer the regrettable prospect of further executions,” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.

“The EU holds a strong and principled position against the death penalty in all cases and in all circumstances and works towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide,” she said.

“While we acknowledge the fact that Indonesia has to cope with a growing drugs problem, experience in other countries strongly suggests that capital punishment is not the answer,” Mogherini said.

She said the EU stood ready to support Indonesia’s efforts to tackle its drug problem.

Atlaoui was convicted of running an ecstasy factory and sentenced to death in 2007. He has told the court that he was only a welder who thought he was working in a chemical factory, not a drug lab.

The other drug inmates facing execution are two Australians, three from Nigeria, and each one from Indonesia, the Philippines, Ghana and Brazil.

Indonesia executed five foreigners and an Indonesian in January, drawing protests from Brazil and the Netherlands, whose citizens were among those put to death.

The Attorney General’s office said last week that the 10 inmates would likely be executed this month after the Asia-Africa Conference, which ended today.

Attorney General spokesman Tony Spontana said a move by Australian drug convicts Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan to lodge a judicial review petition with the Constitutional Court would be ignored because by law foreigners could not make such a request.

The governments of Australia, Nigeria, the Philippines, France and Brazil have appealed to Indonesian President Joko Widodo to show mercy and spare their nationals, but there are no indications that he is changing his mind.

In the case of the Australians, their lawyers and the Australian government argued that Joko failed to consider their rehabilitation when making decisions  on their fate.

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