Indonesia rejects French drug convict's appeal against death penalty

JAKARTA (AFP) - A Indonesian court on Monday rejected an appeal by a French drug convict on death row, taking him a step closer to the firing squad.

"We reject the challenge by the challenger," presiding judge Ujang Abdullah told the State Administrative Court in Jakarta, ruling on the appeal brought by Serge Atlaoui.

The 51-year-old's lawyers had been challenging President Joko Widodo's refusal to grant him clemency, saying the leader had not properly considered Atlaoui's case.

He had been due to be put to death with seven other foreign drug offenders two months ago but won a temporary reprieve after Paris stepped up pressure, with authorities agreeing to let his appeal run its course.

The execution in April of two Australians, a Brazilian and four Nigerians sparked global anger. But Widodo insists that convicted traffickers must be harshly punished, saying Indonesia is facing a crisis due to rising drugs use.