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Indonesia postpones death row Frenchman’s appeal to 13 May

media A demonstration in the Philippines in April calls for the lifting of the death sentence on Filipina Mary Jane Veloso Reuters/Erik De Castro

A Frenchman on death row in Indonesia for drug convictions has had the start of his appeal postponed to 13 May, meaning he may be spared the firing squad for some time. Serge Atlaoui, 51, was due to be executed on 29 April along with eight others concicted of drug offences but the authorities have agreed to let an outstanding legal appeal run its course.

The start of the appeal due to start on Thursday at the Jakarta State Administrative Court was adjourned and postponed to mid-May after Atlaoui’s lawyer failed to attend because she was ill.

The postponement could delay Atlaoui’s execution for some time although his latest legal bid is widely expected to fail.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo has insisted he will not change course on the death penalty as the country faces a rise in narcotics use.

France, which is opposed to death penalty, has stepped up pressure on Indonesia in recent weeks and President François Hollande has warned of “consequences” if the execution goes ahead.

Atlaoui first made an appeal at the Supreme Court but it was rejected in April.

He then appealed to the Jakarta State Administrative Tribunal, which has also rejected his request.

Atlaoui’s latest bid is to the Jakarta State Administrative Court.

It challenges Widodo’s decision to reject his request for clemency, claiming the Indonesian leader did not properly consider his case.

Atlaoui was arrested 10 years ago in a police raid on a drug laboratory in Jakarta although he has always protested his innocence.

Indonesia’s execution last week of two convicts from Australia, one from Brazil, four Nigerians and one Indonesian sparked international anger, with Australia recalling its ambassador from Jakarta.

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