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Bali Prosecutors Seek One Year Prison Term for Journalist David Fox

Former British war correspondent David Fox attends his trial at a court in Denpasar on Bali

BALI – Indonesian prosecutors Thursday demanded a one-year jail term for a British former war correspondent on trial for allegedly using hashish on the resort island of Bali.

Should Former Reuters journalist David Fox, 55, be handed a one-year sentence, it would include time already served, meaning he could be released from jail in a matter of months.

Prosecutors will recommend a jail sentence for Australian businessman Giuseppe Serafino, 48, who was detained before Fox and led police to the journalist, at a later hearing.

Australian businessman Giuseppe Serafino, 48 led police to Fox, who found 10 grams of hashish.

The pair are charged with using, possessing and transporting hashish after allegedly being caught in possession of small amounts of the drug in October.

After being arrested, Fox admitted to police that he had been using hashish for years due to the stress of covering conflicts.
The former Reuters journalist covered wars and disasters in countries including Bosnia, Rwanda and Iraq.

At Thursday’s hearing in the Balinese capital Denpasar, prosecutor Erawati Susina said that Fox’s actions were “against the government’s programs which are aimed at eradicating illicit drugs”.

Under Indonesia’s tough anti-drugs laws, he could face several years in jail but Susina said prosecutors were seeking a lenient sentence as Fox was a first-time offender and had admitted his wrongdoing.

“We request the panel of judges sentence David Matthew Fox to one year in prison, with time he served in detention deducted,” Susina said.

Judges do not have to follow prosecutors’ sentence recommendations but they often do.

The trial is likely to finish in a matter of weeks, with the verdict and sentence handed down after Fox’s defence team is given the chance to make a final statement.

Authorities raided Serafino’s house after a tip-off that a foreigner living there had been using drugs. Police found about seven grams of hashish, after which Serafino claimed Fox had helped him buy the drugs.

Fox was later arrested and police found 10 grams of hashish in his pocket and at his house, along with smoking equipment.

Indonesia has some of the toughest anti-narcotics laws in the world but the pair will escape the death penalty as they have not been charged with trafficking.

Source: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

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