A Japanese teenager charged with possession of a small amount of marijuana on the Indonesian resort island Bali faces up to 12 years in jail, prosecutors said.
The 17-year-old, a student at an international high school on the island, was arrested after police found 2.61 grams of the drug in his trouser pocket, AFP reports.
In a closed-door trial at Denpasar district court, prosecutors charged the teen with drug possession, which carries a sentence of up to 12 years in prison, and drug abuse, which carries up to four years in jail, prosecutor I Wayan Widana said today.
“The defendant had violated Indonesian law for possession of marijuana with the maximum penalty of 12 years,'' Widana said.
“The defendant also used the drugs himself. Based on his confession, he bought the marijuana for 300,000 rupiah (US$31.40),'' he added.
Prosecutors said the teenager lived with his mother, a Japanese travel agent who has worked in Bali for more than a decade. His father is in Japan.
During the hearing the boy's lawyers argued that he should be let off as he was a minor.
“At the trial today, we urged the judges and prosecutors to consider his young age,'' one of the lawyers, Ahmad Hadiana, said. “As he is still a child, we want him to be returned to his parents because he is only a victim of drug-trafficking.’’
The trial resumes on Monday with witness testimonies.
A Japanese teenager who was arrested in Indonesia for possession of drugs is looking at some very serious jail time. 17 year old Yoshioka Ryusei is looking at 12 years in prison for carrying 2.61 grams of marijuana while on the resort island of Bali. A student at an international high school on the island, that small amount of an illegal substance could cost him spending almost all of his 20s behind bars.
The first hearing of Ryusei’s trial was held in the Denpasar District Court on Wednesday, seeing him charged with the possession of narcotics, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 12 years. As he also admitted to using marijuana himself, he was also charged with drug abuse, another crime that carries up to 4 years in jail. He said he bought the drug, an amount equal to $31, for personal use. The boy’s attorney, Ahmad Hadiana, has pleaded that based on his youth, and that he fell victim to a drug dealer, he should be released to the custody of his parents.
While Ryusei’s father lives in Japan, his mother has worked as a Japanese travel agent in Bali for more than 10 years. The prosecutors have not specified what length of sentence they are seeking, but the trial will continue next week. While this may seem an incredibly harsh penalty for a minor, Indonesia takes its drug related crimes very seriously. In November of last year, a 14 year old Australian boy sentenced to two months in a detention facility for possession of 3.6 grams of marijuana. He avoided a lengthier sentence because of his age and agreement to participate in drug rehabilitation, however he was still immediately deported after his release.
[via Jakarta Post]
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Japanese student, 17, faces jail in Bali for marijuana