Australian man detained in Bali for alleged possession of drugs without prescription

Image of a bottle of pills for illustration purpose only. Photo: Pixabay
Image of a bottle of pills for illustration purpose only. Photo: Pixabay

Police in Bali are investigating a case involving an Australian national, identified as Michael William Petersen by media outlets, who was detained last week at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport for alleged possession of drugs. A legal representative of the foreigner said the drugs were prescribed by doctors and meant to treat his health condition. 

“When he arrived, he informed officers that he brought 87 pills of dexamfetamine but without a doctor’s prescription,” Syamsi from the Bali Police told Kumparan earlier today.

Indonesia is notorious for its harsh drug laws and many foreigners have been arrested in the past for having illegal narcotics in their possession upon entering the country, including medical marijuana.

According to reports, Petersen was detained last Friday, after customs officers found a bottle of pills on his luggage during a security check. He has yet to be declared a suspect, Syamsi said, as authorities are still examining the drugs in question, which Petersen claimed is used for health reasons. 

“The narcotics division are still investigating [the case]. Police have 72 hours to do so. We have yet to declare him as a suspect, and the evidence is still being examined,” Syamsi said. 

Edward Pangkahila, an attorney representing Petersen, told local media outlets that the Australian is a veteran with a long-term neuromuscular disease known as Myasthenia Gravis. The drugs he had brought along with him, according to Edward, is meant to treat his condition.

Edward also explained that Petersen’s trip to Bali coincided with his wife’s birthday and they were planning to celebrate it on the island.

“The prescriptions are all there and it’s been sent [via] email, but we need to prove this with the doctors at Bhayangkara Hospital. They will have to evaluate whether it’s truly a prescription, and if they confirm it he can go home,” Edward was quoted as saying. 

A video shared on Twitter by Australia’s Nine Network correspondent for Asia, Renae Henry, shows the Petersens embracing at a police station in Denpasar, where he is currently detained.

Petersen is certainly not the first foreigner to undergo such an ordeal for bringing prescribed drugs to Indonesia. Earlier this year in August, Australian social media influencer Tori Ann Lyla Hunter was also detained in Bali for bringing in prescription medication. She had claimed then that she was financially extorted by lawyers and police officers on the island – claims which had been denied by those involved. 

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