Indonesian lawmaker arrested for meth use, claims he did drugs to cope with death of child

Crystal meth. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Crystal meth. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

A 46-year-old man, identified as a legislator in the Southwest Sumba Regency of East Nusa Tenggara with the initials OH, was arrested along with a 23-year-old female companion on Tuesday at a hotel in Tamansari, West Jakarta for alleged possession of meth.

While many in his regency immediately condemned OH, they might have more sympathy after the police revealed OH’s alleged reason for using narcotics.

“He used [meth] because of depression. His child died suddenly, two years ago,” West Jakarta Police Narcotics Unit Head Arif Oktora told Liputan 6 yesterday.

Arif said that OH claimed to start using meth as a temporary fix for his sorrows about one year ago. The lawmaker told the police that he managed to quit but he started using again shortly before his arrest.

OH, along with HH, were charged with possession of an amount of illegal narcotics that is punishable by up to 12 years in prison.

The police have also arrested two of OH’s alleged suppliers, both of whom may face much heavier penalties for drug trafficking.

While drug crimes are considered among the most serious in Indonesia, a case last year showed that there is still room for sympathy in the Indonesian justice system when it comes to prosecuting  offenders. In August 2017, a man named Fidelis Arie Sudewarto from West Kalimantan was given a very lenient eight-month prison sentence for growing marijuana — which was used to treat his dying wife — despite the National Narcotics Agency (BNN) calling for a 20-year-sentence for him. Public sympathy for Fidelis likely swayed the judges to make the relatively merciful sentence in his case.



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