Rumah Cemara battles for drug user's future in court

A trial process

CAHR implementing partner Rumah Cemara which represents people who use drugs and people living with HIV/AIDS in Indonesia is assisting 52 year-old Laila (not her real name) in fighting to save the future of her 32 year-old son, known only as a suspect A, who is addicted to crystal methamphetamine. He has been addicted to narcotics since he was a junior high-school student and was declared by a doctor to suffer from an acute psychological disorder and strong addiction.

In October 2011 Laila in vain asked to detain her son in a medical treatment room at Kebonwaru Penitentiary in Bandung at the request of her son's doctor. "My son has been imprisoned three times so far, but that only makes him become more addicted. It proves that prison is not the right solution for drug addicts," said Laila.

This time A is standing trial for possessing 1.7 grams of crystal methamphetamine. His mother accompanied by Rumah Cemara attended his trial process at the Country Court in Bandung, West Java and tried to persuade the Bandung District Court to put her son into rehabilitation centre instead of prison. A is supported by a legal team from the Bandung Legal Aid Institute that also consists of one Rumah Cemara’s legal consultant who accompanies the client throughout the process. Rumah Cemara also provides counselling to A on his rights and makes sure that the process in the court goes in the right way. The organisation’s representative has provided legal assistance and support to A as well as he has provided testimonies to the court stated that A is a drug user indeed and needs medical assistance and should be detained in rehabilitation centre.

Unfortunately mother’s plea on sending her eldest son to rehabilitation centre and A lawyer’s actions were unsuccessful. On the 1st of June Country Court decided 9 months in jail for A.

According to Rumah Cemara’s Programme Manager Ardani Suryadarma the Bandung District Court has never handed down a verdict of rehabilitation to any drug user despite that the 2009 Narcotics Law allows such an option. He mentioned that West Java's Courts had only recommended rehabilitation over a prison sentence in 2 drug use related cases out of 28 that produced sentences. "These 2 cases happened at the Sukabumi District Court, never in Bandung, which is the city with the highest number of drug use related cases" Ardani said.

Nowadays A with a support of his legal team is going to appeal to the Court of Appeal and is preparing for the next hearing. A and his family as well as Rumah Cemara hope for the correct verdict as it should be rehab not jail by looking at the facts written in Regulation number 35 article 127 paragraph 2 that were presented in the Court.