HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EACH PERSON REGARDLESS OF AGE, RACE, RELIGION OR POLITICS
HOME | PRISONERS & PRISONS | EXPERIENCES | BOOKS & PRODUCTS | HOW YOU CAN HELP | LATEST NEWS | EMAIL
LATEST NEWS
Drug case mercy plea
Cindy Wockner - July 14, 2006


HIT by harsh drug laws . . . Barbara Higgs with her
husband Melvin at Mataram Court yesterday.
Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro
AUSTRALIAN woman Barbara Kathleen Higgs hid behind a black and gold headscarf in a Lombok court yesterday as her lawyers pleaded with judges to be "compassionate" and use their humanity to find her not guilty of drugs charges.

The 43-year-old West Australian woman has spent five months behind bars and the scarf and black sunglasses were aimed at shielding herself from the media.

Her lawyer Ainuddin claimed there were no witnesses who saw the hotel manager taking the marijuana and that she had intended to throw it away.

In addition she was a pillar of the local community who had done much to help Lombok's tourist industry and who had been a model prisoner, teaching English to guards and her fellow inmates.

But prosecutor Raharjo Yusuf wasn't buying the pleadings, telling the Mataram District Court that Higgs's urine test, soon after her arrest in February, had been positive to marijuana use.

Mr Yusuf has already demanded that Higgs be sentenced to one year in jail after being arrested with 49.7g of marijuana under article 85 of Indonesia's narcotics laws which carry a four-year maximum term.

But the prosecution has dropped two more serious charges which carried the death penalty and 10 years respectively for dealing and possession.

Higgs and her husband Melvin, who was in court to support her, are Lombok residents who own and run a small hotel called Bulan Baru on Lombok's Senggigi Beach tourist strip.

She is the latest in a long list of Australians to have fallen foul of Indonesia's harsh anti-drugs laws which carry long prison terms for small amounts of drugs.

Mr Ainuddin told the court his client had helped the local community where she lived and had suffered from illness, including kidney and skin problems, requiring being admitted to hospital three times since being jailed.

The dirty water, food and conditions at the jail had contributed to her ill-health.

The court will hand down its verdict on July 27.

Australian on drug charges begs for mercy

Barbara Kathleen Higgs hides her face with a piece of paper
as she appears for her trial at a court on Lombok in May.
Photo: AFP

An Australian woman on trial in Indonesia for drug offences begged for mercy on Thursday, telling judges she had contracted typhoid, kidney problems and a skin disease in her Lombok island prison.

Barbara Kathleen Higgs, 43, was arrested in February.

She is charged with possession 50 grams of marijuana and a smoking pipe after police acting on a tip-off searched the Bulan Baru (New Moon) hotel she owned with her New Zealand husband at the beach resort of Senggigi.

Police said urine test proved positive and Higgs had admitted buying the drugs from a local dealer two days before.

Prosecutors have sought one year's imprisonment under tough Indonesian drug laws.

Higgs, originally from Pinjarra, Western Australia, appeared in court with her face covered with a gold embroidered veil and paper.

Her lawyer Ainuddin said the unsanitary jail conditions at Lombok's women's prison had forced Higgs to seek medical treatment several times.

"The food is disconcerting and the water is dirty, causing the defendant to get typhoid, a kidney infection and a skin disease, and to be treated several times in hospital," he said.

Higgs told the court she was "healthy enough" to follow her trial, although a bandaid on the back of her hand covered needle marks from her hospital treatment.

"Looking at this situation, we as the lawyers beg the judges for compassion and pity towards the defendant, merely on the mere reason of humanity," Ainuddin said.

Several previous trial appearances had been cancelled due to illness.

Ainuddin said Higgs had never served time in prison before and respected Lombok culture, having written about the island several times for travel magazines.

"She did that without charging and that shows that she loves Lombok," Ainuddin said.

She had also spent time in jail teaching English to other inmates and prison warders.

"It only shows that she cares," the lawyer said.

Higgs has previously told the court she had intended to throw the drugs away on the advice of a girlfriend, but police caught her.

She also said she would not be punished for such a small amount of drugs in Australia.

Prosecutor Raharjo Yusuf Wibisono last week asked for a one-year jail term for Higgs, instead of the maximum penalty of death because she had been co-operative.

"She admitted what she had done and promised not to repeat it again," he said.

"She also helped her community, providing jobs and clean water."

Higgs's verdict is expected on July 27.

AAP

Woman faces year in prison
from correspondents in Lombok - 07jul06

PROSECUTORS have sought a year's imprisonment for an Australian woman on trial on Indonesia's resort island of Lombok for allegedly buying marijuana, court officials said today.

The recommendation for Barbara Kathleen Higgs, 43, was made during a hearing yesterday, said a court magistrate who identified himself only as Kemin.

"Prosecutors said testimony from witnesses showed that the defendant possessed marijuana at the time of her arrest," Kemin said 

Ms Higgs, a registered foreign resident on the island, was arrested in February at a hotel she co-owns at the beach resort of Senggigi.

Police seized almost 50g of cannabis and two small bags of seeds.

The trial was adjourned until next Wednesday, when Ms Higgs will enter a plea.

CLICK HERE TO RETURN TO THE NEWS PAGE
FREEDOM IS A RIGHT OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS IN A WORLD WHERE LIFE IS VALUED AND PEACE MAY FINALLY BE A POSSIBILITY
*
MAKE A DONATION
*
TELL A FRIEND
*
HOME | PRISONERS & PRISONS | EXPERIENCES | BOOKS & PRODUCTS | HOW YOU CAN HELP | LATEST NEWS | EMAIL
Just in case you forgot - read the Universal declaration of Human Rights
Copyright - An important message to website owners:
All information at this site is Copyright 1996 - 2005 'Save-A-Life' & 'Foreign Prisoner Support Service' unless stated otherwise. As with all our information AND more specifically, information relating to CAMPAIGNS AND/OR PRISONERS we have been granted special permission to disclose this type of information by the families and/or by the detainee themselves. Therefore, if you wish to use any of this information to re-create in your own website or elsewhere, please contact us - save breach of copyright. News stories are reprinted for archival, news reporting and information use only and are credit where possible.
Click here for the legal stuff