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Yudhoyono saved boy from Bali jail

The intervention of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono may have saved an Australian boy charged with cannabis possession from doing time in Bali's notorious Kerobokan prison.

The 14-year-old is in custody at an immigration detention centre at Jimbaran while he awaits trial, after being moved on Saturday afternoon from Bali police headquarters in Denpasar, where he'd been held since his arrest on October 4.

The boy had faced the prospect of a stint in the notorious Kerobokan prison, which is home to convicted drug traffickers such as the Gold Coast's Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine, as well as murderers and child rapists.

However, it has emerged that the boy was spared from the harsh confines of Kerobokan after Dr Yudhoyono took a personal interest in the case and following a high-level intervention by senior officials in Jakarta.

Indonesia's Minister for Law and Human Rights, Amir Syamsuddin, in consultation with National Police chief Timur Pradopo, ordered the boy be taken to the immigration facility after making a snap visit to Kerobokan prison on Saturday morning. Mr Syamsuddin, who visited the teenager yesterday, confirmed the President had become directly involved in the case.

Asked if the President had taken an interest in the case of the Australian schoolboy, Mr Syamsuddin said: ''Yes, indeed - not only for [the Australian teenager] but for all juveniles.''


The teenager, from Morisset Park south of Newcastle, has been in custody since his arrest, when he was allegedly caught with 3.6 grams of cannabis.

While the boy has been shielded from the media over the past three weeks, on Saturday he was forced to endure a lengthy appearance as officials explained his move from police headquarters.

Clad in a balaclava, sunglasses and cap, the teenager was clearly distressed as he sat in front of the large group of reporters and cameras.

His lawyer Mohammad Rifan comforted him throughout the ordeal, reassuring the boy and patting his knee. His parents were not at the media conference.

The head of the Bali office of the Justice Ministry, Taswem Tarib, who also visited the boy yesterday, said the decision not to send him to Kerobokan was taken after it was decided the jail did not meet human-rights standards.