JAKARTA (Reuters) - A prank has had serious repercussions for an Indonesian boy facing criminal charges because he caused a classmate to be stung by a bee, the Jakarta Post reported Thursday.
The English-language daily reported that the third-grade student — whose age was not given but who would be about seven or eight years old — was being tried at the Surabaya District Court in East Java.
The boy was alleged to have stuck a bee on the cheek of a female classmate as they returned home from school in March last year, the paper said. Her father then filed a police report.
The prosecutor in the case said the boy was accused of violating the Indonesian Criminal Code by committing “severe abuse that led to an injury,” the Jakarta Post reported.
The newspaper said this could result in a maximum penalty of a 32-month jail sentence.
The boy, whose name was not given, has not appeared in court because he is depressed and afraid, the paper said.
Edward Carwardine, spokesman in Indonesia for UNICEF, the U.N. Children’s Fund, told Reuters that the criminal age of responsibility in Indonesia was eight years. However, there are proposals in place for this to be raised to 12 years.
A recent case involving shoeshine boys in Indonesia also highlighted the ease with which children can be arrested and jailed. Last year, 10 shoeshine boys aged eight to 15 were found guilty of betting on games of heads and tails as they waited for customers at Jakarta’s international airport.
The boys spent a month in a children’s penitentiary awaiting trial. They were found guilty, but following a public outcry they were not sentenced to jail, but sent home to their parents.
Typically children who are jailed serve time in the adult, rather than juvenile, penal system.
Reporting by Pip Freebairn, Editing by Sunanda Creagh/Sara Webb and Ron Popeski