1,000 Police ‘on Drugs’ in Aceh

BANDA ACEH

Nearly 1,000 police officers found to have used drugs in Aceh will be given a month to get clean or face dismissal.

The officers, representing at least six percent of the provincial police force, failed drug tests carried out by the National Narcotics Agency, Aceh Police chief Iskandar Hasan said.

The police tested positive for a range of drugs, including crystal methamphetamine, known commonly as ice, marijuana, and MDMA, the active drug in ecstasy pills.

Police have sent 189 officers so far to month-long rehabilitation.

“We will give them a month to see whether they will change their ways or not. If they cannot change, we’ll fire them,” he said.

Hasan said marijuana use was widespread in the region, where the plant is cultivated and traditionally used in cooking and added to beverages.

Aceh police two weeks ago seized and destroyed around two tonnes of the plant.

“Drugs are easy to find in Aceh, and this matter has not got a lot of attention in the past,” he said.

Aceh, on the northernmost tip of Sumatra, is a known gateway for trafficking drugs, especially for crystal methamphetamine entering the country.

Indonesia enforces stiff penalties, including the death sentence and life imprisonment, for drug trafficking.

It also criminalises personal drug use, recently sentencing a 14-year-old Australian boy to two months’ imprisonment in Bali for buying 6.9 grams of marijuana.

Police said, however, that the officers would not be arrested, despite the strict sharia laws that apply to the Muslim majority.

Aceh adopted partial sharia in 2001 as part of a special autonomy package aimed at quelling separatist sentiment, and laws are enforced by sharia police.

Muslims there can be charged for consuming alcohol and adulterers have been caned.

Nearly 90 percent of Indonesia’s 240 million people are Muslims, but the vast majority practise a moderate form of Islam.

Filed under: The Nation

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