Friday, April 15, 2011

Prosecutors Seek 16 Years for Aussie Drug Suspect

DENPASAR

Prosecutors at the Denpasar District Court requested a 16-year prison term on Tuesday for an Australian man arrested in possession of drugs in Bali.

Michael Sacatides, 43, had been facing a possible death sentence for allegedly bringing 1.7 kilos of methamphetamine into Bali on October 1 last year.

But prosecutor Ida Bagus Atmaja told the court that Sacatides — who had arrived for a holiday in Bali from the Thai capital Bangkok, where he was working as a kick-boxing instructor — had no prior convictions and therefore sought a lower sentence.

Demand: Michael Sacatides (right) in court on Tuesday with his translator. Photograph by Juliyusman Sine/The Bali Times

Sacatides’ lawyer, Erwin Siregar, said the prosecution had failed to prove the drugs belonged to his client. “Based on the facts in this trial, it has not been proven who is the owner of these drugs,” Siregar told the court.

The defendant claims he borrowed a suitcase the drugs were found in from an Indian man in Bangkok. Efforts to track down the Indian by Interpol, the international police organisation, have not been successful.

The trial resumes on April 19, with a verdict expected within a fortnight.

Three Australians are on death row in Bali for their roles in a 2005 drug-smuggling operation.

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