Indonesia jails Frenchman for six years for drug smuggling

Indonesia jails Frenchman for six years for drug smuggling

DENPASAR, Indonesia / Bali - An Indonesian court on Monday sentenced a Frenchman to six years in prison for smuggling 69 grams (2.4 ounces) of hashish into the resort island of Bali.

Vincent Roger Petrone, 44, was "found legally and convincingly guilty of importing narcotics", presiding judge Parulian Saragih told the Denpasar district court in the hearing that lasted only five minutes.

"We sentenced him to six years in jail and a fine of one billion rupiah (US$100,000, S$127,000)," he added.

The sentence was heavier than the five years recommended by prosecutors, but the judges did not explain the reason in court.

Customs officers detained Petrone in January as he arrived from Kuala Lumpur because he appeared in a rush to get through airport security.

They could not find any banned items in his luggage and he was taken to hospital where he was given an X-ray, prosecutor I Gusti Putu Atmaja said previously in court.

The hashish was discovered inside his digestive tract and had been inserted via his anus, prosecutors said.

Petrone appeared tense as the verdict was read out and refused to speak to journalists outside the court.

"We were hoping he would be sentenced to five years but it didn't turn out that way. Despite a harsh verdict we will think about whether to appeal," his lawyer Erwin Siregar told reporters after the trial.

Petrone, a plasterer, was born in the eastern city of Dijon but his current address was given by the court as the French Pacific island territory of New Caledonia.

In January British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death after cocaine with an estimated street value of US$2.4 million was found in her suitcase as she arrived on a flight from Bangkok.

Under Indonesian law a death sentence can be passed for attempts to smuggle drugs weighing more than five grams. But judges seldom impose the death penalty in cases involving such small amounts.

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