Frenchman jailed for 15 years for Bali drug smuggling

DENPASAR, Indonesia - An Indonesian court jailed a Frenchman for 15 years Wednesday for smuggling a huge stash of crystal methamphetamine into the resort island of Bali.

Francois Giuily, 49, was arrested in January at Bali airport with more than three kilos (6.8 pounds) of the drug hidden in two plastic bags in his suitcase lining, according to prosecutors.

Customs officials said at the time of his arrest that the drugs had a street value of around $500,000.

A court in the Balinese capital Denpasar on Wednesday sentenced him to 15 years in jail, lighter than the 17-year term demanded by prosecutors.

His "action was against the government programme in eradicating narcotics", presiding judge I Gede Ketut Wanugraha told the court.

Giuily was also ordered to pay a fine of eight billion rupiah (around $700,000) or have his jail term extended by three months.

The judge said the sentence was lower than requested, as Giuily had a clean record and behaved politely during court proceedings.

His lawyer Suroso, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, said his client would not appeal as he feared that the sentence might be increased.

Smuggling such a large quantity of drugs into Indonesia can be punishable by death under the country's anti-narcotics laws, which are some of the toughest in the world.

British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, who was caught smuggling cocaine into Bali, was handed a death sentence in January last year.

Foreigners are regularly caught with drugs in Indonesia, many of them on hard-partying Bali, and several are on death row.

Giuily was arrested the day before another Frenchman, Michael Blanc, was released on parole from prison in Indonesia after serving 14 years for drug smuggling.

French national Serge Atlaoui is on death row in Indonesia. He was handed the penalty in 2007 after he was caught working in a drugs factory outside the capital Jakarta.