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DRUGS

Frenchman faces 17-year term for meth smuggling

An Indonesian prosecutor on Monday recommended a 17-year jail sentence for a Frenchman accused of smuggling a huge stash of crystal methamphetamine into the resort island of Bali.

Frenchman faces 17-year term for meth smuggling
François Giuily gestures after his trial at a court in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on May 19th, 2014. Photo: Sonny Tumbelaka/AFP

François Giuily, 49, was arrested in January at Bali airport with more than three kilos (6.8 pounds) of the drug hidden in two plastic bags in his suitcase lining, according to prosecutors.

Customs officials said at the time of his arrest that the drugs had a street value of around $500,000.

Prosecutor Gusti Putu Gede Atmaja told a court in the Balinese capital Denpasar that he was recommending a 17-year jail sentence and a fine of 10 billion rupiah ($850,000).

If the Frenchman did not pay the fine, he would have to serve an additional three months in jail, he said.

"The defendant's action is against the government's programme to eradicate drug use and his action could tarnish the image of Bali as a place for tourists," he said.

Smuggling such a large quantity of drugs into Indonesia can be punishable by death under the country's anti-drugs laws, which are some of the toughest in the world.

However Atmaja said that prosecutors were taking Giuily's clean record into account.

Judges do not always stick by prosecutors' recommendations, however.  

British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, who was caught smuggling cocaine into Bali, was handed a death sentence in January last year despite prosecutors recommending a 15-year jail term.

Foreigners are regularly caught with drugs in Indonesia, many of them on hard-partying Bali, and several are on death row.

Giuily was arrested the day before another Frenchman, Michael Blanc, was released on parole from prison in Indonesia after serving 14 years for drug smuggling.

French national Serge Atlaoui is on death row in Indonesia. He was handed the penalty in 2007 after he was caught working in a drugs factory outside the capital Jakarta.

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DRUGS

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test

France's Europe minister on Monday called for "total transparency" over speculation that one of Italy's victorious Eurovision contestants used cocaine during the song contest, saying it should be grounds for disqualification if confirmed.

French minister calls for Eurovision winner to be disqualified if singer fails drug test
France's entry, Barbara Pravi, said she didn't care whether Måneskin had used drugs or not. Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Damiano David, the outlandish vocalist for Italian rockers Måneskin, has agreed to take a drug test after video footage appeared to show him snorting something from a table backstage during Saturday’s contest.

“I think there needs to be no doubt here, and total transparency,” Europe Minister Clement Beaune, who attended the show in Rotterdam, told RMC radio. “If there is a problem, there are penalties… Provisions are made for sanctioning measures, including potential disqualification in case of problems.” 

French hopes had been riding high on singer Barbara Pravi, who was a bookmakers’ favourite to end France’s 44-year Eurovision drought with her
moody ballad “Voila.”

But she was edged out at the last minute by a surge in public votes for Måneskin, with a final tally of 524 to Pravi’s 499.

“I don’t want to be a sore loser,” Beaune said, but “in terms of image, we can’t let people think that such competitions can result in such behaviour.”

The president of France’s public broadcasting group, however, said Monday that France would not contest its second-place finish, no matter the speculation over David’s backstage antics.

“France has absolutely no intention to lodge an appeal,” France Televisions chief Delphine Ernotte told the Parisien newspaper. “The vote was quite clearly in Italy’s favour — it didn’t steal its
victory and that’s what matters,” she said.

Pravi herself said she was not interested in the speculation.

“What’s true is that they were chosen by both the public and the jury. Afterwards, if they use drugs or they put their underwear on backwards or whatever… it’s not my problem,” she told France 2 television on Sunday.

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