A British tourist faces up to 15 years in prison and possibly even the death penalty after being arrested for possessing cannabis extracts in Bali.
Pip Holmes, a 45-year-old artist, surfer, and father of two, made international news after a press conference last week in which Indonesian authorities paraded him in front of cameras wearing a prisoner’s orange jumpsuit.
With very serious sentences hanging over his head, Holmes and his family have started a crowdfunding effort to raise $100,000 for legal representation.
Holmes was self-deprecating in a tweet Sunday, writing:
“So I’m in rehab center/prison in Bali…. I was arrested with a small amount of THC oil about two weeks ago. Stupid of me, I thought I was past making dumb errors in judgement, but it seems not. I use thc and cbd to treat my arthritis ..http://www.getpipbackhome.co.uk”
But that “small amount of THC oil” doesn’t appear to be the whole story. Indonesian police say Holmes received nearly 31 kg of cannabis extract in the mail.
If convicted, such a charge could carry the death penalty, but it is more likely that Holmes will receive a prison sentence between five and ten years.
With some luck and good legal help, Holmes and his family are hoping he’ll receive rehab treatment and deportation instead.
Indonesia is notoriously harsh on drug crimes. In 2015 alone, 14 people were executed by firing squad for drug crimes while another 54 waited on death row, according to The Telegraph.
Holmes says if given a prison sentence he would serve it in Kerobokan, “one of the toughest prisons on earth.” That does not seem to be an exaggeration. Reports from Kerobokan describe it as squalid, overcrowded, violent, and, ironically, chock full of drugs.
Recently another foreigner who faced the death penalty for cannabis, American Matthew Fellows, was released by Chinese authorities after they discovered he was actually framed for cannabis distribution.