Indonesia jails Russian for 16.5 years for drug smuggling

DENPASAR (AFP) - A Russian woman who smuggled drugs into Indonesia was sentenced to 16.5 years jail Monday, escaping the death penalty just weeks after seven foreign nationals were executed for trafficking narcotics.

Aleksandra Magnaeva, 26, was arrested in December after arriving in Bali on a flight from Hong Kong with 2.1 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine stashed in her bags.

"If uncaught, the defendant's action could have endangered thousands of Indonesian youths," judge Wayan Sukanila told the Denpasar District Court, adding the sentence was more lenient because she had shown remorse for her crimes.

Under Indonesia law, the maximum penalty for drug trafficking is death.

During questioning Magnaeva said her boyfriend - with whom she had been living in China - had instructed her to pass the drugs to someone in Bali.

The Russian said she had brought the drugs overland from mainland China to Hong Kong, and claimed it was her first time smuggling drugs into Bali.

Indonesia enforces some of the stiffest penalties for drug trafficking in the world, including life imprisonment and death.

Foreigners are frequently arrested for attempting to smuggle narcotics into the resort island of Bali, and some have been handed the death sentence.

This month Indonesia put to death two Australians, a Brazilian, and four Nigerians despite international outcry over the executions.

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