August 2, 2019 / 10:41 AM / 3 months ago

Indonesian court commutes Frenchman's death sentence for drugs to 19 years

FILE PHOTO: Frenchman Felix Dorfin, who was sentenced to death for drug trafficking, walks before his trial at Mataram court in Lombok island, West Nusa Tenggara province, Indonesia May 20, 2019. Antara Foto/Ahmad Subaidi via REUTERS

JAKARTA (Reuters) - An Indonesian court on Friday commuted the death sentence of a French national convicted of drug smuggling to 19 years in prison, a court official said, because the judge said he had shown remorse.

Felix Dorfin, 35, was detained last September on the Indonesian holiday island of Lombok with more than 2 kg (4.4 lb) of ecstasy, crystal methamphetamines and marijuana.

He escaped from prison this year only to be recaptured after two weeks on the run, and was sentenced to death in May.

“The high court made the decision to reduce the sentence after taking into account some considerations, including that (Dorfin) had reflected on his wrongdoing, and that he has dependants,” said court spokesman Mas’ud, who goes by one name, like many Indonesians.

Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries have notoriously harsh narcotics laws, but Dorfin’s sentence shocked even the prosecutors, who had only sought 20 years.

The southeast Asian nation executes convicted drug traffickers by firing squad and faced international criticism in 2015 when it executed several foreign nationals, including two Australians who were leaders of the Bali Nine trafficking ring.

There has been an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty for drug trafficking since 2016, but several foreigners remain on death row.

Reporting by Reuters stringer in Mataram; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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