Indonesian court sentences Frenchman to death for drugs

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MATARAM, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian court on Monday sentenced a Frenchman to death for smuggling 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) of drugs to the tourist island of Lombok, even though prosecutors had only sought a 20-year sentence.

Felix Dorfin, 35, sat silently when a panel of three judges handed down the punishment. He declined to speak to reporters on his way back to prison from Mataram District Court.

In their verdict, the judges concluded that Dorfin had weakened the government's drug prevention program and could have a bad influence on young people.

"He is legally and convincingly guilty of importing narcotics to Indonesia," said Presiding Judge Isnurul Syamsul Arif. "We found no reason to lighten his sentence."

Prosecutors had requested a 20-year prison term for Dorfin, who was arrested last September when customs officers at Lombok's airport discovered methylenedioxy methamphetamine worth $220,600 and 22 ecstasy pills in his suitcase.

Dorfin, who is from Bethune, a city in northern France, maintained in court that he had been asked by someone to carry the suitcase and did not know it contained drugs. His lawyer said he would appeal.

Dorfin had managed to escape from a police detention center in January by punching holes in his cell window, allegedly with help from a female police officer who received money from him.

He was recaptured near a forested mountain on Lombok island, next to Bali, after spending 10 days on the run. The police officer was arrested.

Indonesia has extremely strict drug laws, and convicted smugglers are sometimes executed.

More than 150 people are currently on death row, mostly for drug crimes. About one-third of them are foreigners.

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