Palembang, S Sumatra (ANTARA) - Public prosecutors have demanded that five drug couriers be sentenced to 20 years in prison for transporting five kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in February.

Lead prosecutor Sigit Subiantoro conveyed the jail demand during a court proceeding at the Palembang District Court held virtually on Wednesday.

Moreover, the public prosecutors demanded that the defendants, identified as Masri, Sobirin, Apriyadi, Haris Munandar, and Muhammad Asmadi, be also fined Rp1 billion.

In response to the prosecutors' jail demand, the defendants appealed to the court's panel of judges to give them a week’s time to reply through their team of lawyers.

Related news: Drug courier jailed for 16 years by Palembang District Court
Related news: East Java police seize 8.4-kg crystal meth smuggled from Malaysia

The National Narcotics Agency (BNN) officers arrested the drug couriers during a drug raid operation on the Palembang-Betung road section KM 17 of Sukajadi Talang Kelapa neighborhood in Banyuasin District, South Sumatra Province, on Feb 8, 2020.

Masri, Sobirin, and Apriyadi are the residents of South Sumatra Province, while Munandar and Asmadi hail from Aceh Province. They were arrested in possession of seven bags of crystal meth, weighing five kg in total, which they had concealed in a van.

During the court proceeding, the defendants' lawyers stated that they had been promised by the drug dealer to get paid Rp25 million for every bag of crystal meth that they successfully transported.

On Aug 25, the Palembang District Court sentenced drug courier Muchtar Daud to 16 years in prison for transporting one kilogram of crystal methamphetamine in April this year.

The court's judiciary panel, headed by Erma Suharti, also slapped a fine of Rp1 billion on Daud in their verdict that was lighter than the 17-year imprisonment demanded by the prosecutors.

Daud was arrested by South Sumatra's police officers in Sungai Lilin Sub-district, Musi Banyuasin District, last April.

Domestic and transnational drug dealers perceive Indonesia as a potential market owing to its vast population and millions of drug users. Drug trade in the nation is valued at nearly Rp66 trillion.

People from all sections of society are falling prey to drugs, regardless of socio-economic and professional backgrounds.

In the face of the grave threat posed by drug lords, National Narcotics Agency (BNN) Chief Commissioner General Heru Winarko sought capital punishment for those involved in drug trade in the country.

National Police Chief General Idham Azis recently highlighted that district courts in different parts of Indonesia had awarded capital punishment to at least 100 drug offenders in the first half of 2020.

"May they soon be executed by firing squads to deter others," he stressed while bearing witness to the National Police special task force’s move to destroy 1.2 tons of crystal meth, 35,000 ecstasy pills, and 410 kg of marijuana in Jakarta on July 2, 2020.

The Indonesian Legal and Human Rights Ministry has also hinted its support for transferring convicted drug dealers and producers to the maximum-security prison in Cilacap District's Nusakambangan Island since it has adequate number of vacant prison cells. Related news: Police confirm 300 kg-crystal meth also for trade in Java
Related news: Drug dealer shot dead for assault on policeman in Medan

Translator: Aziz M, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Sri Haryati
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