Thu, 19 Jun 2003

Kenyan gets 15 years

MEDAN, North Sumatra: The Medan District Court sentenced Joseph Karanja Kamau, a 32-year-old Kenya citizen, to 15 years in prison after he was found guilty of trafficking 73 capsules of heroin weighing 800.15 grams.

The verdict, which was read out by presiding judge Anwar Zahri, was more lenient than the prosecutor's demand of the death penalty.

Prosecutor Mardiana Sianturi filed an appeal.

The defendant expressed his relief upon hearing the verdict. His lawyer, Zuhdi Lubis, said that his client was happy not to have received the death penalty.

Kamau was arrested by customs and excise officers at Polonia Medan airport on Oct. 22, 2002. It was found that he had swallowed 73 capsules containing heroin.

He claimed that the heroin belonged to his friend Ahmad in Qatar. He was only told to carry the drugs to Medan and hand them over to someone for US$10,000. -- JP