Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd says negotiating the release of an Australian schoolboy being held in Bali on possible drugs charges is a "number one priority".
The 14-year-old was arrested on Tuesday night near Hotel Padma in Kuta allegedly carrying a stash of cannabis.
It was unclear how much of the drug he was allegedly caught with. Reports ranged from 6.9 grams to 3.6 grams.
It is alleged he bought cannabis for the equivalent of $25 from a dealer while on his way to get a massage in Kuta. Police detained him outside a supermarket.
The boy, who is deeply traumatised, is being held in a room away from adult prisoners at a Denpasar police station.
He faces doing time in Kerobokan prison,
Mr Rudd said the boy's parents were deeply distressed by their son's incarceration.
"I think if you put yourself in the position of being a mum or a dad with a 14-year-old who's got themselves caught up in this situation, your heart would go out to the parents," Mr Rudd said.
"I have just spoken with our ambassador in Jakarta [Greg Moriarty] and I have indicated to him that his number one priority in the immediate period ahead is how we support this young boy and his family and do everything we can to obtain his early return to Australia."
The boy is the youngest Australian to be arrested in Indonesia.
"Regrettably, we know the authorities in Denpasar too well through matters we have had to deal with over the years," Mr Rudd said.
"I'm not going to be in the business of providing public lectures from abroad on the nature of anyone else's legal regime.
"We respect those laws and we will work very closely with our friends and colleagues in Jakarta and Denpasar."
The boy spent a frightening first evening alone at the police station until his parents arrived the next morning.
The boy had been on holiday with his parents at the luxury resort area of Legian. He was with a friend when he was arrested.
Lawyer Muhammad Rifan said last night that the boy had been "crying all day" and refusing to eat.
His parents were depressed and feeling helpless as the enormity of their predicament set in.
"Just like any other parents, they don't know what to do when their child faces this type of situation," he said.
Mr Rifan refused to confirm whether the youth admitted to buying the drugs but demanded a urine test be retaken, suggesting concerns with its result. He also called for the investigation to start again from scratch.
Juveniles are typically treated leniently in Indonesia's courts but often get custodial sentences for drug offences. And as there is no juvenile court system, it is likely he would go to an adult prison if convicted.
Indonesian courts can commute sentences for drug crimes to a few months, or even waive jail time completely, but there must be evidence that the accused is a drug addict.
Mr Rifan said if the parents could provide evidence that they had sought treatment for their son in Australia for any addiction, he would probably get off. Otherwise, he could face jail time of six months to four years.
"[Mr] Rudd has directed that the Australian ambassador in Jakarta and the consul-general in Bali make this their top priority … and seek the early release of the boy," a Foreign Affairs spokesman said.
The boy could be held at the police lock-up for up to a month while his alleged crime is investigated. If police decide they will proceed with the case, he will be formally charged and face court in Denpasar.
Drug dealers frequent the throbbing tourist strip around Kuta, often whispering in the ears of passers-by.
It is not uncommon for dealers to inform police if the buyer is a foreigner, sometimes snaring a lucrative payment for the information. There is no evidence such a scenario unfolded in this case.
Bali's only under-age prison is a cell in Kerobokan, an already desperately overcrowded jail that is home to a diverse population of hardened criminals and small-time crooks.
Prisoners mix freely at Kerobokan, where the guards are vastly outnumbered by convicts.
There was a riot at the jail earlier this year, and several inmates are on death row, including Bali Nine ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
Murderers and rapists, including infamous child rapist Mochamad Davis Suharto - also known as Codet or Scar - are doing time there as well.
Cannabis is considered a narcotic in Indonesia on a par with heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
Mr Rifan would not confirm the teenager's name and urged media organisations not to publish it, saying it was illegal to do so in Indonesia.
Police also confirmed there would be no "walk of shame" in front of cameras for any under-age offenders.
October 7, 2011
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Australian gov. in bid to free boy, 14, after Bali drugs arrest