staff and news service reports
updated 11/25/2011 5:54:20 AM ET 2011-11-25T10:54:20

An Australian teen was sentenced to two months in detention Friday for buying drugs while vacationing with family on Indonesia's resort island of Bali.

Presiding Judge Amzer Simanjuntak told the packed Denpasar district court that — when taking into account time already served — the 14-year-old would be freed in just over a week and immediately deported.

"It's better to give a jail sentence, but the shortest possible, which would enable him to be given back to his parents sooner," Simanjuntak said, according to a report in the Herald Sun newspaper.

The prosecutors had asked for a three-month sentence.

The boy, who cannot be identified by name because of his age, sat sobbing, his head bowed down, as his father patted him on the back consolingly while the judge spoke.

Though he could have faced up to 12 years under Indonesia's tough narcotics laws, the panel of three judges said it decided to be lenient because he admitted to buying 0.13 ounces of marijuana from a man in front of a supermarket and repeatedly expressed remorse.

The teen, who has been in an immigration detention center since his Oct. 4 arrest, earlier promised to enter a drug rehabilitation program if he was allowed to return to his home in Morrisset Park, north of Sydney.

He said he had been struggling for some time with his addiction.

Australia — which has seen dozens of its citizens jailed or placed on death row for drug possession in Indonesia — had been closely watching the trial.

'Lessons to be learned'
Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd welcomed the court verdict that he said meant the boy and his family would probably be back home by Christmas.

"I'm sure there are lessons to be learned by this young man as well," he told the Sun Herald.

Many argued the boy was too young to be jailed.

But critics noted that dozens of Indonesian children tied up in people-smuggling cases have been languishing for years in Australian detention centers.

The Associated Press, Reuters and staff contributed to this report.


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