17 year old Yoshioka Ryusei of Japan was sentenced by an Indonesian court on Thursday to spend six months in prison after being arrested with a small amount of marijuana in Bali. Indonesia is known for its very harsh punishments on any drug-related offenses, and the teen could have been sentenced to a maximum of 12 years. As a student at an international high school on the resort island, Ryusei was caught carrying 2.61 grams (0.09 ounces) of the drug in pocket, an amount that purchased for roughly $31.
Prosecutors were seeking a one year sentence for the Japanese boy, but his lawyer negotiated six months based on his age. When giving his ruling, Judge Gunawan Tri Budiono said Ryusei’s actions spoiled the tourist attraction image of Bali, but because it was his first offense, and he bought the drugs for personal use, he agreed to be lenient. After being in police custody since August 8th, the court agreed to credit Ryusei with time served, meaning he will be released in February and immediately deported.
The teenager said he bought the marijuana while at a popular beach, near where his mother has worked as a travel agent for ten years. As a further example of how serious Indonesia takes its drug violations, they even sentenced a 14 year old Australian boy to two months in a detention facility last year for the same crime as Ryusei. Even that was a reduced sentence only given after protesting from Australia’s foreign minister. Out of the “Bali Nine,” an Australian drug smuggling gang arrested in 2005, two members remain on death row, while the other seven are serving life sentences.