10/11/2011

Australia drugs teen may avoid Bali prison: Police

 

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Australia drugs teen may avoid Bali prison: Police

DENPASAR, Indonesia - A 14-year-old Australian boy arrested for alleged marijuana possession on the Indonesian resort island of Bali may escape a prison term, police said Tuesday.
Bali police narcotics chief Mulyadi told AFP that the boy could be dealt with under an Indonesian legal provision which does not apply criminal penalties.
"He's a minor and a (drug) user so it will be most appropriate and most likely that he will be charged under Article 128 of the Indonesian law," Mulyadi said.
"We'll process him in accordance with legal procedures," he said.
Juvenile users dealt with under Article 128 of the country's narcotics law are not criminally charged and cannot be sentenced to prison, but are processed by the courts to ensure they undergo rehabilitation treatment.
Muhammad Rifan, the boy's lawyer, told AFP: "We are hopeful. This is a good development but we are still uncertain that the authorities will not charge him for drug possession," Rifan said.
"At the end of the day, we have to wait for the court's decision," he added. Rifan earlier said a normal drug possession charge carries up to 12 years in jail but the sentence is halved for child offenders.
When arrested October 4, the boy is alleged to have been carrying 6.9 grams of marijuana he bought in Bali's Kuta tourist district, where he was holidaying with his parents.
A high school student from a coastal area north of Sydney, the teen has been the focus of intense negotiations involving Canberra's Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd and other Australian officials lobbying for his release.
Several Australians are in prison at Bali's Kerobokan jail, including two convicted drug traffickers on death row and six serving life sentences.
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