Former war correspondent on trial in Indonesia for hashish

AP News
Posted: Jan 19, 2017 6:12 AM
Former war correspondent on trial in Indonesia for hashish

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — A former Reuters war correspondent on trial in Indonesia on charges of possessing hashish faces up to four years in prison, a prosecutor said Thursday.

David Fox, a British national, was arrested Oct. 8 along with Australian Giuseppe Serafino on the tourist island of Bali. Police said they confiscated a total of 10.09 grams (0.36 ounces) of hashish from Fox's clothing and house.

He is being tried at the Denpasar District Court, where prosecutor Erawati Susina said he could face a maximum four years in prison. Serafino is being tried separately and faces the same possible sentence.

Police said Fox, 55, told them he had used the drug for years to overcome stress caused by covering conflicts.

He worked for Reuters for 20 years but was fired in 2011 for making an off-color remark in an instant-messaging system while covering the 2011 Japan tsunami and nuclear meltdowns.

Bali police first raided the house of Serafino in Sanur, a beachside town and resort area, where they reportedly seized 7.32 grams (0.26 ounces) of hashish. His arrest led to the detention of Fox at a bar run by Serafino.

Serafino, 49, told police he had used the drug since 2007 after being diagnosed with lip cancer.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws and convicted smugglers are often executed. More than 150 people are on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About a third of them are foreigners.

Eighteen people convicted of drug-related offenses, mostly foreigners, have been executed since President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo took office in October 2014.