Indonesia deports French drug smuggler after 18 years

  |   World News

A French national who spent 18 years in Indonesian custody for smuggling drugs into Bali is expected to arrive home on Sunday, thanks in large part to his mother's efforts. Michael Blanc was arrested in 1999 at the airport in Bali with 3.8kg of hashish hidden inside scuba diving canisters. The now 45-year-old was initially given a life term, narrowly escaping the death sentence handed to some foreign drug traffickers. In 2008, Blanc's prison term was cut to 20 years.

Blanc's mother, Helene Le Touzey, later helped secure her son's parole in 2014, despite the fact that Indonesian law does not usually allow the conditional release of foreigners after serving just two-thirds of their sentence. Blanc's three-year parole period ended in July 2017, after which he was required to finish one year of probation.

The former cook arrived at the airport in Jakarta for his deportation on Saturday escorted by Indonesian immigration officials and accompanied by Le Touzey. She gave up her life in France to spend nearly two decades in Indonesia campaigning for his release. The two departed on a Turkish Airlines flight at 9 pm (14:00 GMT). They are expected in Paris on Sunday at about 11 am (09:00 GMT).

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