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14yo could face 6 years in Kerobokan prison -

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14yo could face 6 years in Kerobokan prison

Broadcast: 07/10/2011

Reporter: Matt Brown

Australia's ambassador to Indonesia is heading to Denpassar to negotiate the release of the
14-year-old boy arrested for possession of marijuana.

Transcript

ALI MOORE, PRESENTER: The 14-year-old New South Wales boy arrested for marijuana possession in Bali
has spent his third night in prison as Australia's ambassador to Indonesia heads to Denpasar to
meet his family.

The boy is reportedly being held in his own cell.

Australia's Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, has warned there's no guarantee negotiations with
Indonesian authorities will deliver the teenager's early release..

If convicted he could be jailed for up to six years in Bali's Kerobokan prison, along with a host
of other Australians including the Bali Nine and Schapelle Corby.

Indonesia correspondent Matt Brown, reports from Denpasar.

MATT BROWN, REPORTER: At Bali's police headquarters the boy's family are trying hard to keep his
spirits up.

It's every parent's nightmare, but early anxieties are easing.

MOHAMMAD RIFAN, LAWYER: The condition for the boy on this time is quite stable because the parents
are with, give their support. And then the police (inaudible) is really helpful.

MATT BROWN: An official from Indonesia's human rights ministry is now overseeing the police
investigation. And he could recommend the boy be released into his parents' custody. However the
decision will be up to a judge and the Australian Government's warning the case may not be resolved
quickly.

One of those officials is Australian Consul-General Brett Farmer.

BRETT FARMER, AUSTRALIAN CONSUL-GENERAL, BALI: I'm just going in to talk to the family now.

REPORTER: And what are you hoping to talk to them about at this stage?

BRETT FARMER: Just the general welfare of the child and legal processes.

MATT BROWN: The Prime Minister is monitoring the case closely.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: He is subject to Indonesian law. That requires us to make sure that
we deal with this carefully and in a sensitive way. We will do that and we've got our best
officials in Indonesia on the job.

MATT BROWN: Bali police say the boy bought marijuana from a man on Kuta Beach on Tuesday. It's a
serious crime but his lawyers have convinced the investigators to ensure he's not treated as an
adult.

Are you optimistic about his case now?

MOHAMMAD RIFAN: At this time we're still optimistic. Yes.

MATT BROWN: The boy attended high school, then a religious private school, near Newcastle in New
South Wales, where news of his arrest has begun to filter through.

In a quiet street in Morriset Park, the neighbours were stunned to learn of a local boy in trouble.

MORRISET PARK RESIDENT 1: To have it your 14-year-old boy, it would just kill you.

MORRISET PARK RESIDENT 2: If he gets charged, what will happen? He'll be there for years in gaol.

MATT BROWN: The Foreign Minister says he's spoken to the boy's father.

KEVIN RUDD, FOREIGN MINISTER: The lad is sleeping in his own cell. I'm further advised that the
police authorities have made it possible for his dad to sleep in an office immediately adjacent to
his cell.

MATT BROWN: If the boy's parents can prove he's been getting treatment for a marijuana problem in
Australia, he could be released into their custody. That's still an option, even if he's charged
and goes to trial.

But there's always the chance he could face up to six years in prison.

Darwin barrister Simon Lee has written to Kevin Rudd to raise the plight of his own clients, some
of the 50 or so Indonesians detained in Australia despite their claims to be minors.

SIMON LEE, BARRISTER: I basically said that it was hypocritical that we have Indonesian children
here in detention, some charged, some not charged. And that as a possibility, it may be, however
unlikely, that release the Indonesian children for the Australian child.

MATT BROWN: Indonesia's foreign ministry has already played down any link between the two issues.

Australia's ambassador to Indonesia is expected in Bali tomorrow morning.

Matt Brown, Lateline.