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Indonesia opens hearing on French death row inmate’s appeal

May 13, 2015

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian court on Wednesday began hearing a last-minute appeal by a French death-row inmate who is challenging the president’s refusal to grant him clemency.

Sergei Areski Atlaoui was to have been executed with other drug convicts on April 29, but his second appeal to the Jakarta Administrative Court delayed his execution.

A court in April dismissed his first appeal of President Joko Widodo’s rejection of clemency when it ruled that clemency is the prerogative of the president.

On Wednesday, presiding Judge Ujang Abdullah read out the appeal in which Atlaoui’s lawyers claimed that the reasons for the first ruling were contradictory. They also claimed that the criteria of the judicial action in the first ruling were inappropriate.

The hearing was adjourned until next week when the lawyers will submit evidence and present testimony from legal experts.

French President Francois Hollande has warned Indonesia that the execution of a Frenchman for drug crimes will damage ties between the two countries.

Two weeks ago, Indonesian firing squads executed seven foreign men and one Indonesian convicted of drug crimes, drawing wide international condemnation. Atlaoui and a Filipino woman Mary Jane Veloso were scheduled to be executed with them but were excluded because of the Frenchman’s appeal and the arrest of Veloso’s alleged drug boss in the Philippines.

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