Bali Forces Rehab For Aussie, 14, For Marijuana Possession


AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka
Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia, Greg Moriarty, has been working to secure the release of the 14-year-old boy who was arrested for marijuana, among huge media interest

​The arrest of a 14-year-old Australian boy in Bali for marijuana possession has created a media firestorm. The boy will likely be held in “drug rehabilitation” for up to another month while he waits to learn how and when he will go to trial.

The Australian ambassador to Indonesia said the case is his “top priority,” reports The Conversation, and even Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard telephoned the teen in prison on Sunday, assuring him “everything is being done” to secure his release.

The boy is being moved from police headquarters in Denpasar, Bali, “probably” to a rehabilitation center, according to his Balian lawyer, Muhammad Rifan, report Deborah Cassrels and Peter Alford of The Australian. Rifan said the police investigation and a summary of evidence should be complete within three days, at which point regulations require him to be removed from police station custody and to another facility.

The Australian
The mother of the 14-year-old Australian boy accused of marijuana possession in Kuta, at police headquarters in Denpasar on Tuesday

​”We don’t know exactly whether he will be moved to another location or authority,” Rifan said. “It can be jail, it can be rehabilitation center.”
The boy, a high school student a coastal area north of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, was arrested by undercover police on October 4 for allegedly carrying 3.6 grams of marijuana he bought from a street dealer in Kuta.
Director Mulyadi of the Bali police narcotics division said the boy would be moved once the legal brief was handed to prosecutors.
Police have recommended the boy be charged under Article 128 of Bali’s narcotics law, which allows for an underage drug user to be released into rehabilitation rather than serve a maximum six-month jail term.
State prosecutors will decide charges after taking a look at the evidence. They have 30 days from receiving the evidence to lodge the case with Denpasar district court, which will set a hearing date.
The boy’s mother is staying close to the police headquarters where he is being held; his father returned to Australia over the weekend.
Greg Moriarty, Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia (of which Bali is a part) visited the boy and his mother on Tuesday during talks with Indonesian officials to expedite the case.
“I have no immediate concerns for his health or wellbeing,” Moriarty said after the meeting. “He and his family are obviously under an incredible amount of pressure but they are tough and are holding up as well as could be expected.”
Moriarty wouldn’t comment on whether the boy would be allowed to return home under his parents’ care if put under an Indonesian rehabilitation order.
He rejected calls for Australian vacationers to boycott Bali to protest the case.
“I think Australians need to read the travel advice,” Moriarty said. “Obviously many thousands of Australians do visit Bali and have a very enjoyable holiday.”