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Australian teen faces Indonesian drug charges

 By: Tinsley Tullos

A 14 year old boy on vacation with his parents inBali,Indonesia, was accused of drug possession and could face jail time. The teen has been detained since his October 4 arrest and will be tried under three separate charges. After buying 3.6 grams of cannabis on the streets ofBali, a popular tourist destination site for Australians, the teen was brought to police headquarters and then moved to an immigration detention center.

“The boy was under stress from the media attention but was otherwise in a relatively good condition during the hearing,” Mohammad Rifan, the teen’s lawyer, says. Photo courtesy of Google images

The charges are in accordance withIndonesia’s stringent narcotic laws: 111, 127 and 128. The first two alone can result in a maximum of ten years of jail time. Article 128 applies to a minor’s drug use and takes into account the minor’s history of drug use and could most likely send the boy to rehabilitation rather than jail. Article 128 states that the minor’s parents are responsible for reporting any substance abuse to Indonesian officials. Any actions taken by his guardians in his country are irrelevant.

 The 14 year old boy, whose name will not be released, was swarmed by the media this past Tuesday as he entered the court room.  “The boy was under stress from the media attention but was otherwise in a relatively good condition during the hearing,” Mohammad Rifan, the teen’s lawyer, says. “The trial will be closed to the public, and it is said that the judge will be not in his typical robe as a means to alleviate some of the teen’s stress. Two witnesses arrived at the trial and it is possible that the boy may receive credit for serving time. Defense attorney Rifan expects a quick decision and bi-weekly court trials reaching into mid-November. “We are optimistic, and we hope that we get the result we want–that he be returned to his parents and avoids jail time,” Rifan said.

The boy remains among the many Australians already held hostage due to strict Indonesian anti-drug laws. Visitors are warned upon arrival about these laws and the maximum death penalty. Despite this warning, many Australians and other ethnicities are found serving life sentences and penalties such as death row. The next court appearance is scheduled for today.

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