Frenchman Felix Dorfin (L) arriving at a court in Mataram on the resort island of Lombok. File photo/ AFP
A French drug smuggler’s death sentence has been commuted by an Indonesian court to 19 years in prison, his lawyer told AFP on Friday.
The ruling comes less than three months after Felix Dorfin, 35, was handed a capital sentence following his arrest last year at the airport on the holiday island next to Bali, where foreigners are routinely charged with drugs offences.
Dorfin was carrying a suitcase filled with about three kilograms (6.6 pounds) of drugs including ecstasy and amphetamines when he was seized, but maintains he had no knowledge of the narcotics.
Indonesia has some of the world’s toughest drug laws and has executed foreigners in the past, including the masterminds of Australia’s Bali Nine heroin gang.
It was not immediately clear why the Mataram High Court in Lombok overturned Dorfin’s sentence, with the ruling expected to be made public later on Friday.
His lawyer, Denny Nur Indra, confirmed the court’s decision to AFP.
Ginung Pratidina, the prosecutor in the case said he was deciding whether or not to appeal the decision.
While Indonesian courts are known to issue punishments that are tougher than the sentence demanded, Dorfin’s death sentence came as a shock as prosecutors had only asked for a 20-year jail term.
The Frenchman made headlines in January when he escaped from a police detention centre in Lombok and spent nearly two weeks on the run before he was captured.
A female police officer was arrested for allegedly helping him escape in exchange for money.
Indra has previously described Dorfin, who is from Bethune in northern France, as a “victim” who did not know the exact contents of what he was carrying in the suitcase.
When he was sentenced to death earlier this year, the French foreign ministry said it was “concerned” by the sentence and reiterated France’s opposition to the death penalty.
Indonesia has some of the world's strictest drug laws -- including death by firing squad for some drug traffickers and it has executed foreigners in the past.
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This amendment will be applied for the period from June 1, 2018 to December 31, 2022, noting that the term provided in the aforementioned Cabinet Decision No. (25) of 2018 (goods) will be re-applied starting from January 1, 2023.