An American is facing a life or death scenario on the Indonesian island of Bali after being caught with 0.7 grams of marijuana over the 5-gram trafficking limit. After reportedly seeing the story on Fox News, President Trump is considering intervening to get 32-year-old Christian Beasley free from an Indonesian prison, where he’s already faced grave danger.
In November, Trump intervened on behalf of three UCLA basketball players arrested for shoplifting in China.
Beasley, who was recaptured after escaping custody at the Kerobokan penitentiary in Bali’s capital, first faced arrest in August when he attempted to pick up a package at the post office containing 5.7 grams of hashish. Beasley could be punished with four years to life in prison.
Indonesian authorities want him tried for trafficking, a far more serious charge than possession or use in the country, where cannabis is a category 1 drug alongside heroin and cocaine.
A verdict in Beasley’s case was due last Tuesday, but the California-native had escaped the prison the previous day, setting off a chain of events that read more like an action movie plot than a petty cannabis possession case.
Along with another prisoner who was caught during the escape, Beasley sawed through the roof of his cell during a downpour of rain before scaling a 20-foot-tall wall to reach the outside world. After fleeing the prison, Beasley hitchhiked a ride with a motorcyclist to Ubud, where he hid in the bushes outside a museum until nightfall. Once the coast was clear, the escapee secured a car to Padang Bay port, at which point a speedboat transported him to Lombok, where he was ultimately apprehended while in an alleyway near the beach.
Beasley desperately pleaded with press at a news conference Wednesday at the Badung police station to hear his side of the story, offering that he is a licensed medical marijuana patient at home and he only escaped prison because he had reason to believe he would be killed for not being able to pay the under-the-table protection from inmates who threatened his life and beat him up.
As the press conference ended and Beasley was being escorted back to lockup, he yelled to reporters, “I need help, I really need help … Please help me, please help me. In my country (it) is not a crime use ganja (marijuana).”
Senior Trump administration officials stated to Fox News that the president had seen the news reports about Beasley and wanted more information from Indonesian officials about “the charges and conditions of Beasley’s continued captivity.”
Beasley is facing such serious trafficking charges because in Indonesia, offenders who test positive for a drug are considered users or “addicts” while those without traces of the respective drug in their body are assumed to be traffickers.
He was discovered in Lombok by authorities after attempting to reach out to his mother and sister via email.