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French man jailed in Bali on child sex charges


Jakarta Post, 18. October 2005

JAKARTA (AFP): A French man wanted in his home country on paedophile charges has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for molesting children on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Amlapura district court on Monday found Michel Reinne Heller guilty of having sex with three minors in the resort village of Amed in northeastern Bali in 2001 and 2002, the lawyer said.

Police arrested Heller at a bungalow in Bunutan village in the east of the island in March following an Interpol-backed request by French authorities to track him down.

Heller is wanted in the southwestern French town of Grasse, near Nice, for alleged paedophile offenses, according to a French police source.

Lawyer Erwin Siregar told AFP an appeal had been lodged against the sentence and conviction, claiming testimony from the three victims had been contradictory. Heller continued to deny the charges, he said.

Prosecutor Anak Agung Gede Raka had sought a three-year jail sentence.

Bali and several other Indonesian islands, including neighboring Lombok, have reputations as havens for foreignpaedophiles and child sex networks.

A former Australian diplomat arrested for suspected paedophilia last year hanged himself in his cell in May after he was jailed for 13 years on child sex offenses. (***) ------------------