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Indonesian court jails Australian for nine months on drugs charges

http://www.thejakartapost.com/detaillatestnews.asp?fileid=20051222173441&irec=2

Jakarta Post, December 22, 2005

JAKARTA (AFP): An Indonesian court on Thursday sentenced an Australian to nine months in prison for possession of crystal methamphetamine, his lawyer said.

Judges in the North Sumatran city of Medan found Graham Payne guilty of carrying 0.5 grams of the drug, said defense lawyer Karle Sitanggang.

The judges also said traces of heroin were found in a syringe they seized from him.

Sitanggang said the sentence was lenient because the judges recognized that Payne, 21, was a user and not a trafficker.

"He is a victim of drugs. He suffered from depression, that's why he used drugs," he told AFP.

Payne was arrested in Medan in August after he was stopped by police during a routine anti-drugs operation while riding a motorcycle taxi.

Nine other young Australians are on trial on the Indonesian resort island of Bali for allegedly trying to smuggle 11.2 kilograms of heroin to their country. They could face the death penalty if found guilty. (**)