Frenchman jailed in Indonesia protests innocence

6th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

A Frenchman serving a life term for smuggling methamphetamine into Indonesia insisted Thursday he was innocent and would appeal the conviction.

"I'm clean," Gerard Debetz told AFP at the courtyard of the Salemba prison in central Jakarta.

Debetz, 54, was sentenced to life and a fine of two billion rupiah ($225,000) on September 29 after being found guilty of smuggling five kilograms (11 pounds) of the drug into Indonesia.

He said the sentence "is not definitive", insisting his lawyer had given assurances the ruling would be quashed on appeal.

Debetz, who could have faced the death penalty under Indonesia's stiff anti-drugs laws, also insisted he had never seen the bag where the contraband was found.

The Frenchman said he had been used as a "mule", or drug carrier, without his knowledge.

He was arrested in January after landing on an Emirates flight from Dubai. The drugs had an estimated street value of 7.6 billion rupiah (around $850,000).

He said he had checked in luggage at Istanbul where he began his journey, but that someone had apparently checked in another bag in his name when he changed flights in Dubai.

The Frenchman, who has never had a drug conviction, said he had travelled to Indonesia on behalf of a company promoting hotels.

© 2011 AFP

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