Australian boy, 14, held in Bali for buying marijuana

A 14-year-old Australian boy faces up to six years in jail after being arrested for possessing marijuana on the Indonesian island of Bali.

The youth, who was on holiday with his parents, was detained by police outside a supermarket in the popular beach resort of Kuta. He has been held in a police cell since Tuesday and allowed access to his parents, but sources said he was distressed and had been unable to eat for much of the time. In Indonesia there are no children's courts and there is little difference between juvenile and adult sentencing.

The boy, from the New South Wales Central Coast north of Sydney, reportedly told police he had paid the equivalent of £17 for 6.9 grams of marijuana to a man who said he was hungry and needed money.

But last night the teenager's lawyer raised the possibility that the youth had been caught up in a police sting. "Whether he's been trapped, tricked or not, we're still investigating," Mohammad Rifan said .

The Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, has ordered Australia's ambassador to meet the boy's parents today.

If convicted, he would probably serve his sentence in Bali's Kerobokan prison where at least 11 Australians are serving lengthy sentences, including two who are on death row.

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