What to do if the Bali police find drugs on you?


This article is a kind of instruction for those who, due to their naivety or recklessness, have violated Indonesia's law on drug possession and find themselves at the initial stage of the multi-level quest of the Indonesian justice system.
Photo: pexels.com
The main thing to do is to realize and accept from the very beginning the fact that, regardless of the reasons why these drugs ended up with you, irrespective of whether you have money or not, your family's financial situation, your age and education, social status, inner world, and so on, you will have to go through all these levels. One after another. Because from the moment of arrest, they are all inevitable.
Don't waste time developing a plan on "How to get away." Don't feed yourself and your loved ones with empty hopes. Don't believe in any of the sweet tales from customs, police, lawyers, guards, judges, prosecutors, or cellmates. Instead, carefully read this article and remember the important advice. Of course, it won't help you cut corners or find a loophole. But it will certainly free you from many traps, save money and nerves for you and your family.
My name is Roman Kalashnikov, or Mr. Colgate, as the inmates of Kerobokan jokingly called me, learning about me from the news even before my arrival. I was arrested at Ngurah Rai Airport on the island of Bali, and in the suitcase I brought from Nepal, they found about three kilograms of hashish neatly packed in toothpaste tubes. How it ended up in my possession is irrelevant. I'll just say that if I had intended to smuggle drugs into a country where it is punishable by execution, I would have hidden it much more securely.
(To learn about safe ways to transport hashish, you can follow this link → [Joke].)
On July 31, 2017, I was sentenced to 17 years and 4 months in prison. At all stages, from arrest to sentencing, we paid a total of $25,000 USD.
If I or my family had read such an article at the very beginning, I would have received (99% probability) the same sentence or even less, spending less than $3,000. We'll leave one percent, for example, to a bee that could have stung the judge on the day of the verdict (the bee would instantly find itself in paradise), making him suffer from pain and vent his anger on me, sentencing me to execution.
For the money we paid ($25,000), if they had been in the right hands at the right time, I could have received no more than ten years. I mention this only for comparison, so you understand how fortunate you are to be reading this text.
I, on the other hand, went through this path blindly, feeling my way through, without the opportunity to gain invaluable knowledge from those who had already traversed it. Most people caught up in drug-related stories are ashamed to share them with the world.
Certainly, most of them found themselves in such a situation due to their own foolishness and recklessness. Their desire to remain in the shadows is understandable to me. But why those who are innocent, yet have gone through this entire nightmare and have the opportunity to share their experience with others, to warn and help them, still try to stay hidden and not come forward, is not entirely clear to me.
I'm not much better in this regard. I've been sitting for 3 years, and I only found the courage to write this article now, although I planned to do it a couple of years ago. This thought first occurred to me after several cases when I received messages on VKontakte from different people. The approximate text was like this: "Roma, my friend/husband/son/brother was arrested in Bali. He is now in isolation. What should we do?!"
It's clear that all these cases did not happen at the same time, but in each of them, I did everything in my power. I stayed in touch with the family and friends of the detainee, searched for necessary information, shared my experience and contacts. Almost always, I managed to get in touch with the arrested person themselves (at the initial stages, while they were still in isolation), support them, guide them, prepare them for the reality of the trials awaiting them, help them avoid mistakes that, out of ignorance, I had made myself. Thus, almost all the people caught up in drug-related stories were familiar to me even before my transfer to Kerobokan, where I was imprisoned.
Unfortunately, only a few took advantage of my advice and managed with the smallest material sacrifices for maximum efficiency in reducing their sentences. Almost everyone, especially at the initial but most crucial stages, didn't believe in me. But I don't blame them. If I hadn't experienced the entire process on my own skin, a process thoroughly corroded by corruption, absolutely illogical, paradoxical process called justice here, I wouldn't have believed it myself. I've had to cling to the last straw of logic, facing yet another rule or law, but each time it slipped away, leaving me with an open-mouthed expression of bewilderment. But enough of the lyrical digression; let's get down to business.
Before describing the stages of the quest, there's something else to say. My knowledge is not solely based on my own experience, as it is too subjective. However, in three years, I've managed to gather dozens of stories from other inmates who've gone through the same path. Yet, even this hasn't helped me identify a clear correlation between a person's personality, behavior during investigation and court proceedings, their financial situation, the conditions of their arrest, the quantity and type of drugs involved, their nationality, and the resulting sentence. Although certain conclusions have been drawn.

Who is this article for?

In the first place, I am writing this article for the relatives and friends of those who have become entangled in drug-related incidents in Bali. Although I address the detainee directly in it, in reality, it is the close ones who typically begin searching the internet for any information on this topic when they learn that their friend or family member has been arrested. Therefore, I will try to post it with all the necessary hashtags in the most accessible places for quick searching.
I address you, friends and relatives! I recommend delivering this article to the detainee as quickly as possible. From the bottom of my heart, I wish you patience and strength to endure this entire journey, to go through it with minimal losses, and with hope for the best. The same I wish to the detainee. Stay strong and don't lose hope!
To everyone who has read this article out of curiosity, I wish you never to find yourself in such a situation and thank you for your attention. Sharing this information will not be in vain.
Any comments, wishes, corrections, advice, useful information, contacts, or stories from those who have faced this plight are also welcome. Help make this material as useful and effective as possible. Yes, statistically, only a few of those arrested are genuinely innocent, but even for guilt, the payment and punishment should be objective.

Quest stages


Depending on where you were caught with drugs (N), you will first be taken either to the customs building (as in my case: the point of entry – the airport) or directly to one of the island's police stations. Here are the names of the ones I know (use Google Maps for reference):
- Polsek, Polda, Poresta, Polri – stations dealing with mixed cases: drugs, corruption, murders, etc.
- BNN – a station exclusively for drug-related cases.
- Brimob – an especially tough station for terrorists; guarded by special forces.
Since I spent two days at the customs after my arrest on December 10, 2016, I'll briefly describe the main points.
The attitude of the officers is extremely friendly. They already know they will receive a substantial bonus for catching you, so they will offer you cigarettes, coffee, food, and sweets.
They conduct an interrogation on the spot, make an inventory of your belongings, thoroughly search everything, take photos, show you large banners with a list of those arrested and their photos, and playfully joke about your possible execution. They will allow you to use the toilet upon request and provide a mattress for sleep at night.
Before being transferred to the next stage, they won't allow you to contact anyone. They will ask for social media passwords, account details, etc., and make copies of them. Whether or not to provide this information is your decision. The same applies to what you say during the interrogation.
As far as I understand, they are trying to conduct a quick investigation to stand out and show the police that they are capable. Essentially, they will do the same thing at the police station, and the information from there will be used in the case. Customs officers will leave their feedback on how much you helped or obstructed the investigation. A couple of officers will likely present this feedback in court.
There is also an opinion that they collect information to sell it to the press first along with photos.
Whether it's possible to prevent this – I have no idea. At this stage, it's important to pay close attention to the inventory of your belongings. Personally, I lost a liter of vodka. However, overall, everything else, including 3 kg of hash, moved with me to the police station.

Police station

It's also worth mentioning that there I denied any involvement with drugs and to prove it, I gave them full access to my phone and social media. The feedback stated that I cooperated. Whether this influenced the verdict – I don't know.
As I understand from the accounts of people who have been to various police stations, the conditions and investigation process are similar everywhere. The only significant difference is Brimob for terrorists. However, it's highly unlikely that you will end up there. I was there on March 5, 2017, stayed for 10 days, and that was purely by chance due to overcrowding in Polde's isolation and before being transferred to Kerobokan.
About Polde:
I found myself there on December 12, 2016. You are placed in the "aquarium" (a kind of monkey cage). It's a small, unfurnished room with unlimited capacity. Almost immediately, they take you to the investigator's office to meet with them. Your personal belongings are also brought there.
First of all, ask to contact the consul, family, and lawyer. Through one of them, you need to hire a translator, and you have to pay for it yourself. I emphasize this because everyone immediately demands a free translator from the consulate.
IMPORTANT: The consulate does not have such an option in its menu. Don't waste your nerves searching for justice, and don't curse the consulate – these are the rules.
Despite the fact that your case may seem like the most important thing in the world to you, consulate staff deal with dozens of requests, complaints, and demands from tourists on the island daily. Even if you don't fully understand it now, just let it go and look for other possibilities.
English-Indonesian translator contact:
Irwandika +62 878 63208096
At this stage, you can request a free lawyer from the investigators. I will provide information on how to find a worthy (effective but paid) lawyer in a separate chapter later on. I recommend making any statements and signing documents in the presence of a lawyer. Until then, politely refuse and stay in the "aquarium."
Investigators are generally friendly. Firstly, the mentality is different. Secondly, the mere fact that you have drugs is already a 100% case, and they will inquire less about how you got involved, who is to blame, etc.
Understanding that you are already in trouble and your task is only to minimize it will help you not to go to extremes, not to waste your nerves at this stage, frothing at the mouth to prove that you are as clean as a whistle.
It's up to you whether to heed this advice or not, but my suggestion is as follows: in any scenario, remain polite and well-mannered, keep yourself composed. You'll be dealing with them for 2 to 4 months, and how they perceive you will determine how cooperative they will be and what kind of testimony they will provide in court as witnesses. Later on, this testimony (as well as all others from every stage) will help obtain the Justice Collaboration document. I'll provide more details about this later.
If you are fortunate enough to have someone on the island who will support you, make sure to contact them first. Visits are allowed, and in a relatively informal setting. Through this person, you can get in touch with your family and find a lawyer.
If there are no such people, don't despair. Get in touch with someone close. Through WhatsApp and Telegram chats, they can find a compassionate person on the island who is willing to help and support you at this stage. I assure you that such people exist on the island. Family and friends can offer to compensate this person for expenses and provide compensation (as an option).
Yes, you can go through this quest on an extremely hardcore level – as a "lone wolf," trying not to involve anyone in your problems, or if you genuinely have no one who can help. It happens. I've seen such individuals, and most of them bravely made their way to prison, even though they ultimately received the maximum sentence. But if you do have someone who cares about you, let them help you. In the initial stages of adaptation, it's worth its weight in gold.
Important information and advice for your relatives and friends who will be intermediaries between you and the lawyer: Often, legal authorities use a tactic where, if the detainee doesn't fall for their tricks, they try to persuade the intermediary to convince the detainee or make decisions against their will.
Supposedly "for their own good." Many intermediaries (family and close ones) in fear and with the thought, "My dear, we'll get you out!" fall for the trap, pay money, and, typically, nothing works out for them. Or, it works out exactly as the lawyer suggested. However, it would have turned out the same way without any dollars.
Understand this: even if the detainee makes a mistake due to stress (which is unlikely because, no matter how you spin it, they have a better understanding from the inside), leave the responsibility for this decision to them. Don't try to decide someone else's fate, even if it's a beloved person. Of course, the decision is ultimately yours to make.
Not everyone will agree with me on this. In giving this advice, I draw from my own experience. I was very fortunate to have close people around me: from the moment of the arrest until the verdict was delivered. They maintained communication with my family and friends, handled all matters with the lawyer, visited whenever possible, wherever I was at the time. They gathered books from all over the island and brought them to me, provided everything I needed, using both my family's money and their own. They often agreed to all the lawyer's maneuvers, wanting to do everything possible for my minimal sentence, despite my skepticism and distrust.
Before the transfer to prison, when I was without the possibility of communication and any contact in Brimob, significant amounts were paid to the lawyer, which, according to the defender, were supposed to go to prosecutors, judges, police in Polda, etc., although prior to this, during our last meeting, I asked the guys not to make any contributions. During the trial, it became clear that these payments didn't solve anything. When it came to discussing a possible deal between us and the prosecutor, we realized that the budget was almost entirely exhausted, and we couldn't afford the deal. The result: a pre-verdict from the prosecutor - 20 years, and a verdict from the judges - 17 years and 4 months of subsidies.
Most likely, in the first few days, the honorary consul on Bali will visit you. I suppose it's part of his duties. Will this bring you anything? Not sure. Although, precisely in the case where you have no other options, the consul will help you contact your family, provide contacts of lawyers (not necessarily reputable ones, but still), help hire a translator. Don't expect too much from the consul to go to great lengths for you. Don't demand too much. Remember: no one owes you anything. Not here, not anywhere.
So, the family is notified (I hope they have already read this article, as you have), the consul is aware, and for now (or for the entire quest), you have found a lawyer, and there is someone who will visit you, bringing everything necessary for the first stage (change of clothes, toiletries, slippers, books, family photos, food, etc.).
During the initial stages of the investigation, the authorities will decide which of your personal belongings go into the "evidence locker," which will be returned to you immediately (in the aquarium), which will be handed over when you are transferred to prison, and which will be received by your contacts (family, friends, lawyer, consul).
An important point: anything that goes into the evidence locker is unlikely to be returned to you. Your phone, laptop, sometimes even transportation. At the end of the judicial process, the "honorable" judge will announce that evidence lockers are subject to destruction. Is it possible to prevent this decision? More likely, no. I have never encountered anyone who managed to do that.
I know, the news is not that great. However, during the initial stages of the investigation, while categorizing personal belongings, it is possible to request (not demand!) through the lawyer or directly, to "save" certain items by addressing the investigator. Based on my personal experience, here's what I can say. I had two phones (worth $10 and $500), a laptop, and several devices (MP3 player, speaker, watch). My lawyer persuaded the investigator to keep in the evidence locker only the $10 phone and 3kg of hash. The rest was returned later. So, don't believe the investigator's words: "After the trial, we'll return it, don't worry." Keep an eye on the evidence locker list!
In the holding cell, you will spend up to six days. Most likely, during this time, the diligent and self-important customs officers and other officials will manage to prepare a press conference on the occasion of capturing a "bule" (a foreigner in the local language). This is where you should pay attention. According to the law, you are not obliged to be present there. However, everyone really wants you to be there, so they will try to persuade, threaten, and deceive you in every possible way to make you agree to face the press. Even your lawyer may say that it is for your own good. But if you have strong nerves, you can stand your ground and refuse to go anywhere.
I didn't know that there was such a law, and there was nothing to hide, so I agreed. But later, I met a fellow countryman who managed to fend off the attack and did not worsen his case in any way. The decision is yours. However, it's easier to make a decision with this information.
To be honest, I don't know the name of this law for you to reference it. Still, I believe you can find it through a lawyer or the consulate.
Next, at the press conference, a show is staged to instill fear in the viewers. You will be offered to face the press either wearing a mask or without. It's your decision.
You will be escorted behind the scenes under guard: a couple of clowns in masks carrying automatic rifles. They might seat you opposite the individuals caught with narcotics, perhaps asking you a couple of questions. How to behave in this situation is also your decision.
While you're in the holding cell, they will take a blood sample for analysis. As far as I know, the results of these tests currently don't affect the case. However, during my time, it was a paradox. Absence of narcotics in your blood, which they incriminate you with, meant that in the case, you would be treated as a dealer. More precisely, you couldn't count on being recognized as a user, which could have mitigated the sentence, as you would be considered addicted.
If you have narcotics on you that you don't use personally, it implies you're dealing with them. The catch is that even if there are narcotics in your blood, doctors and investigators extort money from you to indicate "Positive" in the certificate. My lawyer charged me $500 for the test. In my blood, there were undoubtedly traces of marijuana.
Understand me correctly. While I didn't have 3 kg of hash (thought I didn't), I was flying from Nepal. In Nepal, weed is cheaper than the most awful cigarettes, like beer is cheaper than juice in Cambodia. Of course, I was smoking joints there, especially as it was almost legal ("Mom, Dad, forgive me if you didn't know"). When I told my lawyer about it, he expressed concern that the weed might have "cleared out." Then my close friend, present during the conversation, didn't lose his cool and said, "Well, let me quickly go for $200, buy some hash, and Roman will swallow it." Here the lawyer revealed that the doctor wants money – end of discussion. No options. In the end, we paid $500 for that test. Later in prison, I learned that everyone pays – locals and foreigners alike. It's a separate business for the "lawmen."
I'll repeat: they've closed down this business now. Thank God. Although who knows if it's for good. At this stage, everything is quite light. But the 6 days are over, and they will take you to the general isolation.


I ended up in isolation on December 18, 2016. The walk was not far. In advance, I handed over my watch, belt, cigarettes, lighter, razor, and cross to my friends. I was walking and recalling everything I knew about prisons, how to "enter the house," introduce oneself, etc.
I asked the lawyer to jot down a couple of phrases in Bahasa (Bahasa Indonesia – literally "Indonesian language") on a piece of paper. Here's what was written (in exactly this order): "Yes," "No," "Thank you," "Please," "How much," numbers from 1 to 100, "Go to hell," "Sir, may I call my lawyer through you?"
Here's what I remembered from "prison rules": "Disregard the guards," "Don't drop the soap," "Immediately find the toughest guy and knock him out." I was prepared for something tough but ended up in a daycare. The people were friendly, peaceful, generous, non-aggressive, with no "concepts," and they were on a first-name basis with the guards.
Of course, in the first few days, I couldn't believe my eyes, looked for a catch in everything, and was on guard. But soon, I realized that even in this situation, Indonesians were "sweethearts," as my friend put it. There was someone overseeing, but since there were only transient inmates (no longer than five months), the most proactive and talkative became the overseer.
There's a common area. It was maintained by girls from the women's section. Their section was separated from the men's area by bars. Each person in the common area contributed 40,000 rupiahs per month. This money was used to buy drinking water, household goods, and tea with sugar. Those who couldn't pay participated in cleaning the area twice a day.
Officially, long clothes, blankets, pillows, metal, glass, and electronics were prohibited. There was a television, a water cooler with hot and cold water. Several enclosed single cabins with a toilet and shower, each with a door. Lockers for personal items were provided. Inside the facility, there were CCTV cameras, but there were blind spots. Visits were allowed three times a week, for 4-5 hours each, through thick plexiglass with holes. Inspections were declared 2-3 times a month, and they were usually announced in advance.
Whether to have a phone there is a debatable question. Enjoying its use came with caution and often required paying with your own nerve cells: a war for charging, the risk of trouble. I didn't have one. In rare cases, I borrowed someone else's for a call. But again, it's up to you to decide. My advice: read books, learn the language, do exercises.
Sometimes you are taken for questioning, signatures, and other investigative processes. The lawyer could arrange with the investigator so that instead of the interrogation, you spend time with a friend: under their supervision, in their office.
At this stage, it is important to understand that no matter how effective the lawyer is, they will still try to get the maximum amount of money from you, come up with stories ("duck stories"), and do everything to make you believe in them. His attempts will be particularly active just before transferring you to prison. This is explained by the fact that in prison, you will meet those who have gone through the entire process and can tell you how things really happen.
TOP most popular divorces from lawyers and investigators at the stage before transfer to prison:
1) "If you pay, you will be transferred from the 'hellish' isolation to the 'heavenly' Kerobokan much faster, where you can have everything." [False. There is a rule: from 60 to 90 days. In exceptional cases, they can detain up to 180 days. You will not be transferred earlier. However, dollars will not influence it, especially if the case is special (mostly involving Interpol).]
2) "You can stay in the hospital with dollars." [Seems logical, but I don't know anyone who succeeded, even with funds.]
3) "Bribe the cops, customs officers, to write a positive review and testify in court." [They will testify anyway, as they are obligated. And if you did not resist during interrogations, everything will be okay with the review.]
4) "You need dollars to get a 'cooperative' judge and prosecutor." [False. There is a special system where judges and prosecutors in Jakarta are randomly assigned.]
5) "You need dollars to avoid problems with guards and inmates in Kerobokan." [False. Even with money, there will be problems if you lack common sense. Everything is resolved on-site.]
These are just a few examples of the various schemes. It all depends on the imagination of the extortionist. I will describe specific scams during the "Legal Process" stage.
My advice: from the very beginning of the quest, don't believe in any assumed good. Don't splash money around: you'll need it for the deal and for life in prison. Be patient, tighten your belt, and try to establish contact with the guys in Kerobokan as early as possible, as they can enrich you with the necessary information.
How to find those you can trust? How to get their contacts?
I'll answer the first question this way. In three years, I haven't met a single person in Krobokan with a rotten soul capable of deceit. Even if such a person exists now, others, in whose integrity I have no doubt, won't allow such an individual to breathe freely and maneuver with deceit. No deception will remain a secret. Everyone I know is on your side. They themselves have gone through this mud.
As for what to include in the contacts, I don't know yet. If I were there (or somewhere with a connection), I would include mine. If you or someone close to you is in trouble with drugs on the island, write me a letter at this address and provide a Whatsapp number for me to contact you: roman_kalashnikov47@mail.ru

Meet the prosecutor

After being in isolation, you will be taken to a distribution center. Upon completion of investigative measures, in the last days in isolation, your fingerprints will be taken, and a photo with a sign will be taken for the cover of your personal file.
Together with other detainees from all police stations, you will be brought to the prosecutor's office building. There, you will meet the prosecutor and sign a document stating that you were present during the transfer of your personal file and all materials from the investigator to the prosecutor. Afterward, you will be placed in a cell for several hours before everyone is taken to prison.
Previously (before the Covid-19 quarantine in 2020), 99% of detainees were automatically sent to Krobokan. Now, there is a distribution system, the details of which are unknown to me.
The prisons on Bali Island are mixed-gender facilities, accommodating individuals with various charges and sentences. The exception is Lapas Narkotika Bangli Class IIA, which is a strictly regulated male prison specifically designed for cases related to narcotics (with an emphasis on a rehabilitation program for drug addicts).
Prisons vary in size, with Lapas housing more than 300 individuals, while Rutan facilities accommodate fewer inmates. Additionally, prisons differ in security levels, categorized as class IIB for sentences of less than 5 years and class IIA for sentences ranging from 5 years to life imprisonment.

The transfer to Kerobokan

Since I myself ended up in Kerobokan Prison Class IIA after the distribution on March 15, 2017, I'll share a bit about it. Despite everyone in isolation claiming that Kerobokan is more like a hotel than a prison, I was prepared for the worst. In reality, I was brought to the building, taken inside, and subjected to a superficial search of my person and personal belongings. The search was cursory, and with some effort, one could smuggle in almost anything, except for oversized items.
After the roll call, I was sent to the distribution block (transit), where, along with those who permanently reside there, those who are moving to other blocks stay for 1-2 weeks. Overall, the situation and relationships among inmates are not much different from the isolation. There is a supervisor, and there is a common fund with a monthly contribution.
Inside each block, there is a small shop (nowadays, there are even refrigerators). There used to be a separate block for foreigners (Block B), but after the escape in 2017-2018, foreigners are trusted less, and there is now a mixed composition in all blocks.
At first, you are placed in a common hall. Later, for dollars, you can move to a room. The cost of relocation and the monthly contribution to the block's common fund depend on the number of roommates. In most blocks, the price for such a move varies from 500 thousand to 2 million rupiahs, plus a monthly fee of 10-50 thousand. In Block B (since it used to be the most comfortable), the cost for moving to a room with three neighbors is 3 million (with a 50 thousand monthly fee), and to a room with one neighbor is 5 million (with a 100 thousand monthly fee). You can also settle alone by buying out your neighbor's spot. In general, with dollars, you can ensure a maximum level of comfort.
The food is relatively good. In the free meals, there is chicken, beef, fish, vegetables, eggs, and fruits (papaya and bananas). Rice is always available. There is also a variety of paid food options in each block and on the common grounds.
You can cook for yourself. There are rice cookers and gas stoves with 220g canisters. Vegetables, fruits, chilled drinks, freshly squeezed juice, coffee, tea, cigarettes, sweets, snacks, and household chemicals are abundantly available at reasonable prices.
There is a clinic with free services, including a dentist, psychiatrist, and psychologist. Vitamins and antibiotics are provided for free.
There are sports facilities available, such as exercise equipment, a football field with a grassy surface, an outdoor tennis court, an indoor badminton court, a volleyball and basketball court, and table tennis.
Kerobokan resembles a closed community with its own laws, economy, culture, and entertainment. There are plenty of opportunities to earn money and not rely on family and friends, especially with the internet offering unlimited possibilities.
Life in Indonesian prisons does not necessarily mean a loss of health or degradation; it all depends on the individual. Various workshops offer the chance to learn crafts, and there is a computer class and a tattoo salon with professional equipment.
Musical instruments and professional audio equipment are abundant. There is a church, a mosque, and a Hindu temple on the premises. Regular services are held with attendees from different churches on the island. There are groups for anonymous alcoholics and drug addicts, as well as yoga and meditation classes.
I provide this information so that you and your family have an understanding of where you will be. After a few weeks, when you complete the full registration with the prison administration, the legal process begins.

The legal process

"My legal process began in April 2017.
To start, it's worth noting that once in prison, having the opportunity to learn from those who have already gone through the court process and maintaining regular (free) contact with your close ones, it will be significantly easier for you to avoid unnecessary expenses and mistakes. Don't be passive; gather information, analyze it, and adjust your courtroom strategy.
Most likely, learning from others about their strategies, you've already realized that standard defense methods are often ineffective. Witnesses, certificates, statements from doctors, and similar elements remain mitigating circumstances only in theory. Real sentence reduction often comes from making a deal. This is where you need to focus all your attention and resources."
"In order for a deal to happen, you need a mediator – your lawyer. The prosecutor won't engage in discussions about the deal with anyone else. That's the system. The amount of the deal your lawyer will present to you depends on how fortunate you are with your choice of lawyer. It's quite obvious that the lawyer will add 20, 30, 40, 50, or even 60 percent to the amount presented to him by the prosecutor. Some moderate negotiation is possible with these percentages.
For most people who knew or suspected these percentages, there was a desire to bypass the lawyer and go directly to the prosecutor. This is a mistake. Understand that this network (lawyer – prosecutor – judges) is a well-established business scheme. Each participant in it protects the interests of the entire network. It's impossible to grease one without greasing the others. A satisfied lawyer ensures the guaranteed flow of dollars from you to the prosecutor and judges. A satisfied prosecutor, citing some mitigating circumstance (indeed, they begin to take mitigating circumstances into account during a deal), proposes the minimum sentence for you at the pretrial stage. A satisfied judge sentences you to a term less than what the prosecutor proposed. A satisfied prosecutor doesn't appeal the sentence issued by the judge. Dissatisfaction from at least one participant in the scheme ruins everything."
Therefore, even before the trial, you will understand whether your money reached the hands of "justice." When setting the deal amount, the prosecutor announces the sentence he will propose in court. Of course, he will also state the sentence you will face if you don't pay. However, it's not guaranteed to unfold exactly as stated, although it's not ruled out.
The main risk of entering into a deal is that the lawyer may pocket the entire sum. Such scams often go unpunished. I don't know how to avoid this risk. I have my own thoughts on how to minimize it, but they have not been applied in practice.
Since we are talking about tens of thousands of USD, it makes sense to spend time and resources on insurance. Hidden cameras, recorders, documenting conversations – all of these can be used as leverage against the lawyer. Many who have been deceived express anger, claiming they will burn the lawyer's house and hang him "by the balls." However, in the end, there's a 0% implementation rate.
After the conclusion of the judicial quest, both the inmates and their relatives are morally weakened and financially drained. Without evidence, punishing the defense attorney and prosecutors under the law seems impossible. The thought that "it could have been worse" that comes after the verdict, and the blind hope for something better ahead, dull vigilance and dampen enthusiasm.
But let's go back to the beginning.
A day before each hearing, you are notified and asked to "sign in on the summons." On the day of the hearing, inmates, often in groups of up to 150 people, are dressed in bracelets and placed on a bus. By the time they reach the courthouse, the inmates have already removed the bracelets, skillfully unfastening them with toothpicks during the journey. After 10-15 trips, your skill in this will reach perfection.
You should enter the courtroom wearing a white top. Therefore, you either dress appropriately in Kerobokan or bring your clothes and change in your cell, within the courthouse. I recommend the latter option because after an hour of travel in the hot van with sardines, your attire will, to put it mildly, lose its freshness.
Another piece of advice. I understand that you will be nervous during the journey, completely immersed in your thoughts. Still, try to look out the window attentively, memorize the world, people, streets, cars, as when these trips end, you probably won't see this for a long time.
Upon exiting the bus at the courthouse, as well as during the proceedings, you might be greeted by reporters and photographers.
Speaking separately about the press, one of the common lawyer scams is bribing representatives of the media to keep your face out of the newspapers. This is a lie. There are too many publications and channels. Information about you has already spread online, and there's nothing you can do about it.
One acquaintance fell victim to journalists, and here's how it happened. Before entering the courthouse, he was asked to sit for a couple of minutes on a bench near the entrance. His brother sat down next to him, made a call from his phone, and handed it over to the defendant for a video call. Across from them was a journalist capturing everything on camera. Afterward, the journalist presented an ultimatum to the detainee (his brother) through a lawyer: either pay him several thousand dollars, or he would publish an article about the defendant's rights violation, along with video evidence.
It might seem amusing, and one could dismiss the journalist. However, the guys had already invested tens of thousands of dollars in a deal with the prosecutor, and, according to the lawyer, the publication of the article could jeopardize everything without a refund (a double scam). The guys paid up. The deal went through successfully, resulting in a 1.5-year sentence.
What would you have done in their place? In general, be on your guard.
After the bus, you end up in a cell, where you wait with others for the court summons. Friends can come to the hearing, and you can communicate with them through the bars. The guards may even allow you to use someone else's phone.
Then you are called into the courtroom. You are escorted in handcuffs, either by the prosecutor or his assistant. In the courtroom, it's a "justice conveyor." Everything looks impressive: decorations, costumes, order. It creates a perfect atmosphere to foster the illusion that justice truly exists.
The standard ritual begins with introductions. The judge asks, "Are you well?" – and the show begins. I've seen judges (there are three of them in total) checking their phones during the proceedings, but that's not the main point.
In the Indonesian legal system, there is a provision stating, "The suspect must understand every word spoken in court" (Article 51 of the Indonesian Criminal Procedure Code (KUHAP)). This law implies that if the suspect does not understand the local language, a translator must be present; if the suspect cannot afford to pay for a translator, the court must provide one.
However, as you have already understood, this law does not always function as intended. The suspect may be required to pay for the translator, and proceedings might continue without one. If you request a translator, the court may adjourn, but postponements can occur indefinitely.
TOP divorces from a lawyer at this stage:
1. You have to pay customs and the police to act as witnesses to your cooperation." [False. They will act as witnesses regardless and are obligated to do so.]
2. You need to pay the prosecutor to remove an extra charge from the case." Explanation: Article 113 - Drug Import. If you were caught at the entry point N (airport, etc.) or at the post office when receiving a package (if there is no direct evidence that you didn't order them), the sentence is from 5 to 15 years. Article 112/111 - Possession of N. 100% will be in the case. The sentence is from 4 to 12 years. Article 114 - Sale of N. Article 127 - Dependency on N. Recommendation for rehabilitation. [This bribe is often presented as a separate fee by lawyers. Don't fall for it.]
3. "You need to pay a doctor or psychiatrist to testify to your drug addiction." [Based on personal experience, this did not yield results. It is not required for a successful deal. Just part of the show.]
On average, all court processes take 2-3 months. One hearing per week. It is often postponed.
Approximate scenario of court proceedings:
1. Introduction.
2. Presentation of the case.
3. Prosecutor's statement.
4. Calling standard witnesses.
5. Defense statement.
6. Preliminary verdict.
7. Final words. Verdict.
Each process takes an average of 30 minutes (from 5 minutes to 1 hour).

Pre-sentence and sentence

By the time of the penultimate hearing, when the prosecutor announces the preliminary verdict, all decisions should have been made, and all actions taken. Influencing the verdict at this point is likely no longer possible. However!
During the final words, you can show the judge the middle finger – and undoubtedly, it will incline him towards the maximum penalty. Everyone always advises the same thing: be polite, make a guilty face, look down. The decision is yours.
At this stage or even earlier, I advise discussing with the lawyer the possibility of obtaining the JC document (see Chapter #4). Traditionally, as a bonus to the main sentence, the court offers a choice:
1) Additional 2-4 months of imprisonment (referred to as a subsidy).
2) Payment of a fine in the amount of an astronomical sum of 2,000,000,000 local currency (150,000$).
Since the choice is obvious, and the offer itself is ludicrous to the point of absurdity, I have never explored its origins. I know of a case where a defendant from Britain, after the judge announced this choice, ostentatiously reached for his wallet and asked if the Indonesian government accepts checks.
So, the verdict has been delivered, but you disagree with it so much that you are ready to file an appeal.

Appeal and Case Review

I warn you that I haven't used any of these options myself, but I've heard from other people. I may be mistaken in some moments, so it's better for you to check everything yourself. My task is to guide you through possible options.
During the court verdict, it is stated that an appeal is possible within two weeks, meaning you need to submit the corresponding application within 14 days. The appeal is considered by the higher court in Jakarta.
Your lawyer will strongly advise you against taking this step. His main arguments are:
1. "It will cost you at least twice as much." [Not a fact. Yes, you will have to pay for the lawyer, possibly even give a bribe, but I don't think the costs can be higher than in Bali.]
2. "There's a high likelihood of receiving a longer sentence as a result of the appeal than what you've already been given." [In reality, I have never encountered such an outcome. The same sentence - yes, a shorter sentence - also yes.]
In other words, the risk of spending money in vain is higher than worsening the situation for an additional payment.
If you don't file an appeal within two weeks, there's another option - a "Case Review." It has no time limit. You need to obtain permission from the prosecutor's office (or the Ministry of Justice in Jakarta - I'm not sure). The basis for this permission could be new facts in the case - evidence that could theoretically influence the court's decision. In simple terms, the process is as follows: you find a lawyer, they obtain permission for a review, the materials are sent to Jakarta, where they are examined, and a decision is made.
Moreover, they CANNOT add to your sentence. They will either keep the same sentence or reduce it.
I don't know how effective these options are, but there is no evidence that they are ineffective. And, in my opinion, that's reason enough to take the risk.
Perhaps it's worth noting that I'm writing this article in a traditional way, on a piece of paper. I don't have access to the internet, so I can't obtain more accurate information (and not only) from people who have gone through this quest differently than I have.
I started writing this article a bit late, to be honest. Nevertheless, I hope that the information I'm sharing will still be useful to you. It's been almost four years since I went through this quest. I can't guarantee that everything is still relevant. Keep that in mind.
[Information and warnings from detainee Andrey Smirnov, arrested on Bali Island on March 27, 2020, for receiving a parcel with a plant containing DMT:]
If the apprehension did not occur at the airport but in another location (at home, on the beach) – it doesn't matter where they planted it and how they did it.
Firstly, it is not advisable to confess to guilt because it is the main element of pressure. They will then escalate the situation, and it will be difficult to reverse. Under no circumstances, if these are not your drugs, should you admit they are yours, regardless of the persuasion by lawyers.
Secondly, resolving the issue is quite possible within the BNN detention facility. They can settle the matter immediately if you take timely action and provide a small amount of money. In my case, it could have been settled for 40 million rupiahs, but at that moment, I didn't have the funds, and I found out about it on my own, without intermediaries. You need a local person familiar with this structure for this. WARNING: The information has not been verified through personal experience. It is quite possible that this is another scam at the police station. If you wish, you can take the risk, but with the utmost caution.
If you plan to live on Bali, it's essential to establish connections among the local population, especially those who are not directly involved in the tourist industry but rather stand apart from it. It is crucial to maintain regular contact with these individuals. Additionally, align yourself with Balinese traditions to gain the support of spiritual leaders.
I recommend this approach to individuals who will be living on Bali or staying for an extended period because no one is immune to such situations here. This is a system and a state-run business that has been organized for a long time and has existed for many decades. All the schemes are well-established, and they are well aware of people's behavioral and mental reactions. You need to gather as much information as possible before any situation arises with law enforcement.


This question deserves a separate chapter. One might think that, having personal experience and dozens of stories from other folks, it would be easy to find the "perfect defender" whom you can trust. Nothing of the sort. There is no specific solution to this question. I'll share what I know and the conclusions I've come to.
All lawyers on Bali are businessmen and extortionists who have nothing sacred and feel complete impunity. The effectiveness of a lawyer is determined by their connections (the ability to reach the prosecutor), sociability, and resourcefulness. It's great if they also know the law, but it's not that important.
It has become a norm that any case involving a foreigner related to N becomes a lucrative opportunity for lawyers who gather like seagulls in the animated movie "Finding Nemo."
I am aware of three types of lawyers on Bali:
1) Those who charge a high fee, make many promises, and do nothing substantial. They usually offer a fairy-tale outcome for the case, invent numerous tasks to ensure a good defense in court (witnesses, certificates, analyses), and charge separately for each of them. In my opinion, this is the most obvious sign that you shouldn't trust such a lawyer.
2) Those who charge a high fee, carefully study your case, provide objective outcomes, and focus on the final settlement. These lawyers are often straightforward, don't fawn over you, and boldly state if there's something you want from them that they cannot do.
3) Those who ask for little money, yet act efficiently, are honest with you, wish you only the best, and are ready to go the extra mile for your release. I've encountered such lawyers. Truly. But only in dreams.
So, you need someone fitting the description of type #2.
It's important to understand one thing. The island is small, and all participants in the legal business know each other. The lawyer will try to use your money to strengthen his relationships with the police, prosecutors, and judges for the future.
Even if he doubts the achievement of your shared goal of reducing the sentence, his reputation in the justice system is more important than among his clients. Often, lawyers employ a tactic where young attorneys, many of whom work for the island's lawyer association, discuss their fees and other payments. The lawyer may invite a senior member of this association, presenting them as his boss. So, when you negotiate, trying to lower the stated amount, the lawyer will refer to his "boss," saying, "I'm okay with it, but he won't agree to that amount." This adds respectability and more trust in your eyes. Don't fall for this tactic and negotiate until the last moment.
There are no irreplaceable lawyers; they are all quite similar in their capabilities and approach to work. Be bolder, and you'll be surprised how many of them, fearing to lose a client, agree to conditions they initially categorically refused.

Choosing a lawyer

The ideal scheme, in my understanding, is as follows:
1) Find the maximum possible number of contacts with lawyers on the island.
2) Call them all – schedule a meeting at the police station. Allocate an hour for the introduction.
3) In your presence, in the investigator's office, allow them to familiarize themselves with the case documents.
4) Share your story.
5) State your conditions. From the lawyer, you will need:
- Their presence at all interrogations and signing of documents. They should inform the investigator that a defense attorney will be present for any document signing, making it pointless to hassle you without them. This will save time and nerves.
- The lawyer must always stay in contact with you, your representative (friend), and your family. If necessary, they should bring you letters and messages from them and collect yours while you are in isolation.
- Any questions regarding the steps taken, bribes, and other matters should be resolved only with your consent. No notifications after the fact, like "I urgently had to pay someone, I've already paid, here's the bill..."
- Any payments (even bribes) are issued to the lawyer with a receipt. There should be confirmation for everything.
- The official contract should specify the services the lawyer commits to providing and the desired outcome. The fee in the contract should be divided into two parts: the first part - a non-refundable amount for the provision of services, even if the ultimate goal is not achieved; the second part is paid after the verdict is reached, provided that the goal is achieved.
- The lawyer undertakes to ensure the obtaining of JC (chapter #4) after the verdict. The fee for JC should be included in the overall fee.
- The lawyer should personally inform the translator hired by you about interrogations or court hearings and ensure their attendance.
6) Obtain a clear and detailed action plan from the lawyer, define goals, and articulate their conditions.
For example:
- What is the minimum sentence that can be achieved without a final deal, what is required for this, what statements should be made, and how to behave;
- What is the minimum possible sentence if a deal is reached; what amount, what duration, are there options (for example: $10,000 - 5 years, $20,000 - 2 years, $30,000 - 1 year);
- The difference in defense strategy with and without a deal.
It's crucial to understand that the specific deal amount and the sentence for that amount can only be provided by the lawyer after the investigation is completed, i.e., towards the end of your time in isolation. Only then will a prosecutor be assigned, and they will specify the terms of the deal. Therefore, if the lawyer confidently mentions the amount and duration for a deal at the very beginning, it's a lie.
They cannot know in advance, although they can make an approximate guess and share it with you.
It might take time for the lawyer to agree and articulate all the aforementioned conditions. In reality, this is a good sign. Therefore, after discussing these questions with them, arrange for a new meeting when they are ready to provide answers to all questions. Meanwhile, proceed to the next candidate.
I understand that at this moment, your desire to believe in a magical outcome and the tension will be at its peak. However, it's crucial not to rush, no matter who is urging you to do so. Firstly, gather a maximum variety of information from different lawyers to make an informed choice. Secondly, this behavior will let the lawyers know that you're not gullible, and to earn on you, they will have to put in effort. It shows that you're not in a desperate situation and that you are aware (at least theoretically) of how things work here. This will filter out opportunists and storytellers.
Even if you immediately have the contact of a lawyer recommended by someone from the Kerobokan guys, or me, or someone close to those who have been through this quest, don't rush. Get as many options as possible for selection. There is a great chance that you will find the "perfect defender," and then you can assist others in their search.
Try to keep a record of your search, document contacts with those you meet, make notes and descriptions. Help create the most efficient database and working scheme for those who find themselves in the same predicament as you.


The cost of quality legal services from a lawyer, excluding any deal with the prosecutor, should not exceed $5,000. This amount should be specified in the contract. You must make it clear to the lawyer that the deal's amount will be paid separately.
Two thousand dollars is a reasonable price for minimal but crucial services: being present at interrogations and hearings, mediating between you and the prosecutor in making a deal. This is the main reason you need a lawyer. If you initially believe that you cannot afford the deal and want to try to minimize your sentence on your own, with the possibility of appealing if the sentence is unreasonably high, try to negotiate the fee to this amount. You can add 1-2 thousand dollars for additional services (communication with family, support during the investigation, etc.).
I'll emphasize once again: the work of a lawyer is evaluated in two categories—standard defender services (formal) and the deal with "justice." A lawyer asking for more than $5,000 for their services is not needed. It's not like America, where your sentence depends on the lawyer's professionalism and experience. Here, the lawyer doesn't need extensive legal knowledge, creating a rich set of mitigating circumstances, the ability to eloquently address the jury and judges, or the search for evidence and important witnesses.
Their task here is quite simple and should not be expensive. Even an intern could handle what is genuinely required of a defender. Don't let them mislead you or make you feel indispensable.

Personal belongings and passport

As I mentioned earlier, discuss with the lawyer the possibility of minimizing the list of belongings. Agree with him that he will return your passport and any personal items you haven't received back after the verdict.
There have been many cases where passports were lost in the prosecutor's office or the prison where they were supposed to be delivered. You can do as I did: retrieve your passport immediately after the court verdict. When the prison administration asks you to hand it over for safekeeping, say that you lost it or gave it to your family. Why? Well, who knows, "it might come in handy for household matters."

Lawyers' names

Here's my case.
Draw conclusions from it. Immediately after my arrival at the airport, within two days at customs, it became clear to me that, regardless of where the 3 kg of drugs in my suitcase came from, according to the law, I was facing execution. During the interrogation, I naturally denied everything. One part of me didn't believe that someone who genuinely didn't know about the contents could have problems, that they wouldn't believe him, and especially that he would be shot. The other part of me, just in case, was preparing for the worst and reflecting on my life. However, I was determined to stand my ground to the end.
When they brought me to the Polda station, a young lawyer named Herlina was waiting for me in the investigator's office. She said she was already familiar with the materials transferred from customs and was ready to take on my case. With one condition: if I continued to deny everything and if the police identified those who framed me, we would all be judged as a criminal syndicate (syndicate), and then, in the best case, life imprisonment, and in the worst case, a bullet. No options. A criminal syndicate doubles the punishment by 100% (in fact, this is true – Google "Bali 9" – Australian guys). If I admit to carrying the drugs by myself, alone, we can prove my drug dependence, and I will get no more than 4 years, and with remission (parole), I will be out in 2 years. We haven't discussed the amount and the scheme yet.
I asked to contact my close ones because I needed to talk to someone. My brain was panicking. But my request was denied. Herlina informed me that I had to make a decision now and provide the initial statements on which everything depended. It took me three cigarettes to contemplate.
I agreed to her conditions, especially since I thought I could still change my decision if needed. To convince me, Herlina showed me an article on her phone about the "Bali 9" guys. I believed it.
We discussed the story I would tell during the interrogation, and I gave statements admitting my guilt. Then I was able to call a friend on the island. He came, and we discussed Herlina's fee for my 4-year sentence.
She requested 30 thousand greenbacks. We negotiated it down to 20.
Throughout the investigation, she actively helped me, returned all valuables from the evidence, organized visits to the dentist, and private meetings in the investigator's office. She had a long list of things we needed to do for the defense and who to pay. My family prepared and sent me a fake history of my drug addiction. We paid for a blood test with a "positive" result, paid the doctor from Kerobokan, and the psychiatrist from the clinic for their performance in court. We paid the investigators and customs officers around 10 thousand dollars, supposedly to prosecutors and judges, but not part of the deal – she informed me about it at the end. In total, around 25 thousand dollars were spent. A lot of work was done, but there was no money left for the actual deal. The result – a full 17 years.
Later on, I learned about several cases handled by Herlina. Almost all of them boiled down to her extracting the maximum funds, but the person ended up with a lengthy sentence. In one case, known to me reliably, she helped a Malaysian get 1.5 years for 5 ecstasy tablets found on him upon arrival at the airport. This cost him 50 thousand dollars.
In all cases, the lawyer tries to persuade the client to admit guilt. Not everyone agrees. However, I have not encountered those who could prove their innocence, even if the evidence in their favor seems indisputable. Almost always, due to ignorance, the accused change lawyers at various stages, managing to pay each of them some amount and not getting it back later.
I hope this article will come across you and your loved ones in time, and you will not repeat the mistakes of others.
Among the inmates, an attorney named Maya is quite popular. Previously, her track record of successful deals was noteworthy. However, as far as I know, the prices for her services have now become astronomical.
Names and contact numbers of lawyers of type #2:
1. I MADE SUARDIKA ADNYANA, S.H. +62 812-3746-2902
2. IDA BAGUS GUMILANG GALISH SAKTI, S.H. +62 813-3831-1500
These lawyers have been verified by the experience of several detainees: they deliver money to the judge and prosecutor, and the deal is conducted fairly. Unfortunately, I cannot provide more detailed information about active lawyers on the island. I hope that those who have experience with this issue will be able to supplement it.
[Additions from the detainee Andrei Smirnov, arrested on the island of Bali on March 27, 2020, for receiving a package with a plant containing DMT belonging to someone else:
The wife of Alexey Paradis, who set me up with the package, said that a lawyer named Herlina (Herlina (Ammanda) Naibaho S.H.) would come and help secure my release.
Thus, in the National Narcotics Agency (BNNP Bali), a lawyer named Herlina appeared. No contract was signed with her, but she defended my rights for 4 days, after which she became the lawyer for Alexey Paradis.
All of Herlina's work consisted of threatening my wife with imprisonment and violence, as well as demanding the return of documents that Paradis left at my house even before my arrest, and extorting payment.
My wife was very frightened by the situation. Considering that she was left without means of existence and with a small child in her arms, without support and assistance, she was forced to hide from Alexey Paradis and his lawyer Herlina, fearing an attack.]
Agus Superman
My wife was looking for a lawyer and met a certain Agus (I KADEK AGUS SUPARMAN, S. H., M. H.), entering into a contract with him. At first, this lawyer inspired confidence. He promised to help with a positive resolution of my case. The amount of his services was quite substantial, but I thought that freedom was worth more. My wife signed an agreement with him for his fee of 400,000,000 Indonesian rupiahs for handling the case, including the court process. The first installment amounted to 126,901,200 Indonesian rupiahs.
The transfer was made by non-cash means.
I entrusted this person with my life and freedom, but in reality, I became a victim of a fraudster. Agus Superman did absolutely nothing for this money, and I lost the opportunity to be acquitted even before the court hearing.
Firstly, I was not provided with the service of an interpreter. Despite the provision in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Indonesia (KUHAP), in Article 51: (a) the suspect has the right to be clearly informed in a language he understands about what is allegedly presented to him at the beginning of the interrogation; (b) the accused has the right to be clearly informed in a language he understands about the charges against him.
I want to note that I speak English poorly and almost do not understand written texts, making it impossible for me to use this language. Moreover, all documents were written exclusively in the Indonesian language. I did not know the contents of these documents. Accordingly, the lawyer should have warned me not to sign them due to my lack of understanding. However, Agus Superman never truly defended my rights.
Secondly, the Embassy of my country in Indonesia and the Consul General on the island of Bali were not informed about my situation, and I was not provided with legal assistance from my home country.
Thirdly, there was no cross-examination with the real criminal in this case - Alexey Paradis, although the investigator mentioned it. The accused has a completely legitimate right to this. Agus Superman did nothing to ensure that this cross-examination took place.
Fourthly, no examination was conducted on the quantity of the prohibited substance in the plant that was in the package.
Fifthly, Agus Superman repeatedly violated professional ethics in conversations with the investigator and stated that he himself used narcotics. Such information about my defender was not in my favor and indirectly tarnished my name.
Sixthly, he did not gather any information in my favor about the crime, did not file a motion for the illegality of the investigator's activities, did not protest to the prosecutor about initiating a criminal case, and other actions proving his work on my case.
Seventhly, witnesses in the case were not interviewed and included in the list, despite my providing names and surnames of witnesses. Some important witnesses left the island out of fear: the actual perpetrator and other individuals who knew that the package actually belonged to him, not me.
Therefore, I consider myself a victim of fraud by this lawyer.
Agus Samidjaya
After my transfer to Gianyar prison, based on the recommendation of another Indonesian inmate, I hired a lawyer named Agus Samidjaya (Agus Samijaya, S. H.). He also failed to gather any documents and did absolutely nothing for me, just like Agus Superman. Before signing the contract, he was assertive in words, but in reality, he backed down. The only decent thing he did was to return half of the amount paid under the contract to my wife after he himself terminated it, refusing to defend me. He thought I was demanding too much from him. All I wanted was for him to do his job properly.
Additions from an anonymous inmate from Kerobokan:
From the good lawyers, I can add Baginda (Baginda Victor Leonardo Sibara): +6287861786262. He helped me, 5 foreigners, and some other people. But I can't guarantee that he won't mess up a new case.
From the fake lawyers, I can mention Alex Barung. He started as a translator, is fluent in Japanese, has all the licenses, and in February 2020, he bought himself a lawyer's license. It's a severe scam, plus he works with the cops. Another bad one is AGUS SUPARMAN.

Grant of parole

The provided text appears to be discussing provisions related to remission in cases involving drugs, based on the law PP '99 that came into effect in 2010-2012. Here is a summary in English:
For sentences of less than 5 years:
Remission is calculated after 6 months of imprisonment: 1st year - 2 months, 2nd year - 3 months, 3rd year - 4 months.
1) After serving 2/3 of the sentence, one can obtain Parole (conditional release) and be released. This is free and happens automatically in the absence of serious behavioral violations.
For sentences of more than 5 years:
1) Automatic remission begins after serving 1/3 of the sentence. Following the same scheme, minus 2 months, 3 months, and so on (up to 8 months) - for the 7th and subsequent years, remission is calculated after 1/3 of the sentence. In this case, obtaining Parole is either impossible or very difficult.
2) According to the law, if an individual cooperated with the investigation (meaning not hindering the investigation) and behaved without violations throughout the trial, they can receive a Justice Collaboration (JC) letter along with the sentence. This allows remission to be calculated after 6 months of imprisonment (similar to sentences of less than 5 years). The application for JC must be made by the lawyer during the trial, and it is free according to the law.
The text describes a situation where Justice Collaboration (JC) has become a profitable business involving the interests of lawyers, prosecutors, and prison administration. Each party involved stands to profit from this process. In many cases, inmates only learn about JC after the trial, when the prison administration presents this option. In some instances, prisoners are asked to pay for JC, with the cost being around a thousand dollars for locals and five thousand dollars for foreigners, though the current amount is mentioned as 3-4 thousand dollars.
Alternatively, individuals can pursue JC through a third party, who can submit the application directly to the prosecutor's office. In such cases, payments would only be made to the prosecutor and the intermediary. The text also mentions a personal experience where the author and someone named Sasha Magnaeva used an intermediary connected to the prosecutor's family to apply for JC, negotiating the fee from 8 thousand dollars to 4 thousand dollars for both individuals.
It's noted that demanding JC, according to the law, after the trial carries the risk of the prosecutor denying the request, citing even non-existent reasons, as they have the right to do so if they haven't received their share. The cunning aspect is that the application for JC can only be submitted once, and if denied, the opportunity is lost. However, anyone, regardless of their behavior, can obtain JC through the paid route.
The text mentions the existence of a deadline. If JC is not processed by the time one-third of the sentence is served, this option also expires.
3) Having JC opens the opportunity to obtain Parole. This is what is referred to as a Grant of parole.
To be released after 2/3 of the sentence – taking into account all accrued months of remission. However, you must remain on the island until the full sentence is completed, considering remissions.
For locals, obtaining Parole is relatively straightforward. Each prison has an annual quota for Parole. However, for a foreigner, it is challenging. Primarily because the embassy must take responsibility for you: ensuring that you will not leave the island (country) before the term expires and that you will not break the law. The embassy takes such a risk in rare exceptions. As far as I know, over the years, Parole has been granted to only three foreigners: the first - Schapelle Corby, the second - Michael Blanc. Both achieved this due to powerful media support. The third - a German named Tim. He was released from our prison this year, having obtained Parole. His parents exerted strong pressure on the German embassy, and in addition, Tim is married to an Indonesian (they got married in our prison two years ago).
In reality, to obtain Parole, the following conditions are required:
- Guarantee from an Indonesian citizen (mandatory).
- Embassy guarantee (mandatory).
- Guarantee from the immigration service (mandatory).
- Marriage to a local resident (not mandatory but desirable).
- Job request/invitation on the island or in the country (not mandatory but desirable).
The processing of Parole is a free option.
These are all the options that I am aware of.
Let's look at my example: 
Sentence: 17 years (+4 months). Commenced: 12/2016. Without JC:
- 1/3 of the sentence: 5 years 8 months.
- 1st remission: 07/2022 - 2 months.
- 2nd: 07/2023 - 3 months.
- ...
- 7th: 07/2028 - 8 months.
- Total remission period: 3 years 7 months.
- Release: 09/2030.
With JC:
- 1st remission: 06/2017 - 2 months.
- 2nd: 06/2018 - 3 months.
- ...
- 7th: 06/2025 - 8 months.
- Total remission period: 6 years 5 months.
- Release: 08/2027.
- Release with Parole: 04/2025.
In the sentence, there is another peculiar aspect, as I mentioned earlier: the court, at its discretion, offers the option to either pay a fine of $150,000 to the state or serve an additional 3-4 months of imprisonment.
This is a distinctly Indonesian feature that clearly characterizes the absurdity of their entire system. I am almost certain that there has never been a case in history where someone preferred to pay a fine over an extended sentence.
There is also the option of deportation for further serving of the sentence in your own country, with the possibility of receiving an acquittal in your home country. It's up to you to decide if you want to take the risk. I would prefer to serve my sentence near the palm trees.

Stories of other prisoners

Here are several examples without names and details, just for comparison. If I make it back to Kerobokan, I'll add more to them.
Location of arrest, type of drug, quantity, lawyer's fee (considering whether there was a deal or not), and the resulting sentence:
1) Airport (2012) – Hashish – 700 g (in the stomach) – $25,000 – 9 years.
2) Airport (2012) – Hashish – 800 g (in the stomach) – $0 – 11 years.
3) Airport (2012) – Marijuana – 1.5 kg (in a bag) – $75,000 – 10 years.
4) Airport (2012) – Marijuana – 2.5 kg (in a bag) – $0 – 15 years.
5) Airport (2013) – Methamphetamine 4 kg (in luggage) – $0 – 16 years.
6) Bali (apartment) (2016) – Methamphetamine 200 g and chemical equipment for manufacturing – $20,000 – 4 years.
7) Bali (apartment) (2017) – Hashish 8 g – $15,000 – 8.5 years.
8) Airport (2013) – Hashish 400 g (in the stomach) – $25,000 – 4.5 years.
9) Mail (2017) – MDMA 100 g – $30,000 – 8.5 years.
10) Airport (2018) – 1 cookie with hemp (Made in USA) – $6,000 – 1.5 years.
11) Airport (2017) – Heroin 10 g (in the pocket) – $25,000 – 16 years.

Liberation. Immigration Service. Deportation.

So, you've served your sentence, and it's time to return home. I'll describe the process and nuances I encountered along with a few other released individuals.
Approximately a month before the release date, the prison administration notifies the Consulate and the Immigration Service (IS) about it. Those are the rules. However, I recommend taking additional precautions and doing it yourself or asking family or friends to contact the Consulate. This can help save time and prepare a temporary document confirming your identity for the flight to your home country.
This document is a one-time use. It's designed for situations where your regular passport has expired or if you've lost it. The "temporary ID" is typically processed within 2-3 weeks.
The process follows this scheme:
1) A representative from the Consulate visits you either in the prison or the Immigration Service office, brings a form for you to fill out in their presence, and you sign it. They take a photo of you on the spot for the "temporary ID."
2) The Consulate representative sends the completed form and the photo by mail to the Consulate office in Jakarta.
3) The document is processed within two weeks and sent back to the representative.
4) The representative delivers it to you either in prison or at the Immigration Service office.
All expenses for postage and photo production, ranging from 100,000 to 200,000 local rupiahs, must be paid to the representative by either you or your family. Of course, you can ask the representative to cover these costs with a promise to reimburse them, but both the representative and the consulate are reluctant to do so because it is not part of their responsibilities. Especially if you don't have the means to pay for the document, how do you plan to buy a ticket?
Neither the Immigration Service nor consulates will take on this responsibility, and you could end up spending months or even years at the Immigration Service until you find someone to cover the ticket costs. Writing letters and complaints, whether to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the president, will not yield any results.
It has been tested and proven.
So, with the "temporary ID" or a valid passport in hand, you can then proceed to purchase a ticket.
Important note: Not all airlines take responsibility for the transportation of deportees. As a MANDATORY condition for deportation, you must reach your own country from Indonesia. Immigration Service staff hand you over to airline staff, and your document is passed on to the flight attendants. In your home country, it will be handed directly to the passport control, bypassing your hands.
In this way, they ensure that you do not leave halfway through the transit airport. I don't know of anyone who has successfully pulled off such a trick among those who have attempted it.
So, don't rush to buy a ticket in advance. Once at the Immigration Service office, you inform their staff of the date or range of dates for the expected departure. They print out a list of all flights on that date and mark the airlines that take responsibility for deportees.
Important! Insist that they call the airport in your presence to confirm whether the selected airlines will take you on the flight. 

"Harsh camp life and the prisoners of Indonesia"

Indonesia prison

At each major police station, there are pre-trial detention cells and general investigative isolators. According to the laws, detainees are held in pre-trial detention cells for no more than six days; then they are transferred to the isolator.
The pre-trial detention cell is small but with unlimited capacity. In the Polda police station, we had an "aquarium" – three walls made of thick plexiglass. There is no furniture. You request access to the toilet and sink. Drinking water comes from the tap. Meals are provided three times a day in hotel-sized portions wrapped in paper: rice (always), plus egg/fish/chicken/soy cheese tofu/vegetables.
Visits and deliveries occur without a specific schedule. Next is the isolator, a large space divided into three zones: a foyer (hall) with a television, a cooler with hot and cold water, and personal lockers; two sleeping areas – a common hall and a smaller hall. The entire area has a solid low wooden podium.
There are also three rooms with a toilet and shower and a small room for drying clothes. The window with bars is only there. There is an additional room with a separate entrance for women. Surveillance cameras are in the corners, although there are blind spots.
Lights and television are always on. Visits and deliveries follow a schedule: three times a week. Visits are through glass with a small opening – cigarettes and lighters are passed through there. Meals are also provided three times a day: they bring a bag with individual portions wrapped in paper.
Bottled drinking water in 20-liter containers for the cooler is purchased. Inmates buy household goods like laundry detergent and floor-cleaning shampoo from the common fund. Those who cannot contribute to the common fund are responsible for order and cleanliness. Cleaning is done twice a day.
Prohibited items include metal, glass, long sleeves/pants, belts, electronics, etc. The rules and their strict enforcement periodically change. The security is completely corrupt. A general search occurs a couple of times a month, but the security often warns in advance. Found phones are destroyed on the spot: first in a bucket of water, then against the tiles.
There are also high-security isolators for terrorists. They are located at the special forces base and are guarded by them. Individual cells for 1-5 people. Sleeping on tiles. No visits. Even cigarettes are prohibited. I spent 10 days in such an isolator before being transferred to prison.
Prisons in Indonesia are mostly uniform, differing in security level (class II A, class II B) and size (LAPAS – more than 500 people; RUTAN – less than 500 people).
On the island of Bali, there are 6 prisons: 2 LAPAS (class II A) and 4 RUTAN (class II B and below). Only our prison (LAPAS NARKOTIKA BANGLI) exclusively houses drug-related offenses. Other prisons are mixed: corruption, murder, drugs, etc. The sentences also vary: from a month to life imprisonment or death penalties.
Especially dangerous and mentally unstable individuals are in a separate prison on the island of Java, in the jungle. The KEROBOKAN prison (LAPAS, class II A) in the capital of Bali (Denpasar) is considered the best among Indonesian prisons. It serves as a kind of transit point.
Most inmates after the isolator end up there. However, due to overcrowding, inmates are regularly transferred from there to other prisons at 2.5 times the number of inmates. Mostly due to serious violations of order, although not always.
As for me, I went through this path: two days in the customs cell, 6 days in the aquarium, nearly 100 days in the Polda isolator, 10 days in the strict Brimob isolator, 2 years and 3 months in LAPAS KEROBOKAN, and 1 year and 2 months in LAPAS NARKOTIKA BANGLI.
Names of detention places on Bali Island:
Police stations (pre-trial detention cells and isolators): Polda, Poresta, BNN. Special forces station – Brimob.

Conditions in prison

Prisons, for the most part, have various facilities on their premises, including an office building, a clinic, a Catholic church, a mosque, Buddhist and Hindu temples, a kitchen, a BENGKER – a place with various workshops for learning crafts and production (tailoring, art workshops, computer classes, library, bakery, jewelry, and turning workshops, etc.), an auditorium (AULA), a football field, basketball and volleyball courts, a tennis court, a garden (chicken coop, pigsty – not everywhere), a store, residential blocks, and a detention building. The presence and scale of these facilities depend on the size and funding of the prison.
In residential blocks, there is a common hall and individual cells, as well as a store. Each block has a small area with a garden, gazebo, drying area, and exercise equipment. Cells in blocks accommodate 2, 4, 6, or around 15 people. The blocks are kept clean.
Each block beautifies its area using funds from the common fund, and the approach to this varies from block to block. Separate blocks are designated for women (not everywhere; in BANGLI – our prison – only men's prison), and juveniles are sometimes housed in a block with trans and gay inmates (in Kerobokan).
Social groups, offenses, religions, and nationalities are typically mixed. In Kerobokan, there used to be a separate block for foreigners (local term: bulé), but after the escape of four foreigners from this block (BLOCK B) in 2017, the inmates were mixed.
Bali has a pleasant climate with summer-like conditions throughout the year. There is abundant greenery with flowers, bushes, and trees.


I'll start with the fact that Indonesians themselves are generally non-aggressive people without any special notions. In Bali, the native Balinese stand out. They have their own religion and feel like hosts, though not in a haughty way. Those who act as leaders in the blocks are usually long-term inmates and those who take initiative. Since 90% of the prisoners are charged with drug-related offenses, the leaders are often the "bosses" of drug cartels. Therefore, money often decides everything here, not force.
Everyone lives their own life. It's challenging to categorize Indonesian prisons as "red" or "black"; the mentality is different here. The guards and inmates do not have enmity, and normal human relationships prevail. The administration of the prison system runs all the prisons. As such, there is no strict regime: no mandatory work, roll calls, or fixed waking hours. The rules are simple: any conflict or fight leads to the isolation cell for all participants, including the provocateur, for 10-30 days. Three entries into the isolation cell result in a transfer to another prison.
Informing on others is commonplace among locals and is only curtailed by specific individuals or groups of people. Theft (sneaking) is common, as most inmates are drug addicts. Those caught in the act are disciplined through physical punishment by the guards, followed by a transfer.
There is a separate category – debtors. Each block deals with them in its way, often resorting to physical punishment: they are undressed to their underwear or entirely, then handcuffed in the common area for 1-5 days. If the debt is not settled, they are sent to the isolation cell and then transferred.
Of course, practices vary over time and in different places. For instance, about 6 years ago in Kerobokan, Bali, there were organized groups. The largest was LASKAR (translated as "combat squad"). They started as a private security company but gradually infiltrated all business spheres in Bali. In Kerobokan, there were many of them (over 300 people). They were assigned a separate block, and they had complete control over the prison. Even the guards walked alongside them without raising their eyes. At that time, there were many murders, both with cause and without. LASKAR, especially, oppressed Muslims, as the majority of their members were Balinese.
Foreigners, both then and now, are treated respectfully. At one point, there was a change in the prison chief, and overnight, all of LASKAR was transferred to other prisons in the country. The regime changed accordingly.

A hassle

As such, this concept is absent in Bali. Only in certain groups of prisoners.
Roosters (active or passive - I don’t know) sit in a separate block in a closed area (in Kerobokan). But, I repeat, the local population has a different mentality. They are not paid attention to and are not taken seriously. More with humor. Without anger. And we don’t intersect with them.
The offended are rapists and pedophiles. They are few. They live in corners, constantly looking around. Absolutely everyone treats them with contempt.
Women sit separately in the women's block. In almost all prisons, they either rarely intersect with men (church - general services; library, clinic) or do not intersect at all. Previously, they were imprisoned in a separate block in Kerobokan, but now they have been given a separate prison with their own administration.

Do the cops beat you?

They only target locals; foreigners are rarely bothered. In my 3.5 years, I've seen a few cases where an inmate was roughed up by the guards. However, I've heard that some individuals were severely beaten in isolation.
The police on the island of Bali have a tradition. All crimes are divided into drugs, criminal, and corruption. Almost everyone arrested for a criminal offense (often at the police station) gets shot in the right leg below the knee, almost point-blank. I've seen from one to four gunshot wounds: sometimes only in the flesh, sometimes through the bone, sometimes in the knee. But it happens only to locals, Indonesians. The scars on the leg can indicate the charge and severity.
It doesn't matter if they are young or old.
Regarding fights, I'll reiterate that Indonesians are not a confrontational or aggressive people. There are almost no fighters, unlike in an Indian movie. 99% of the time, there are just threats, and only 1% leads to actual physical violence.
There were no murders during my term. Suicides are rare. More often, people died from a heart attack or overdose.

How they feed

In prisons, the food is quite good. There is no cafeteria; everyone eats where they want. In Kerobokan, four times a day, cooks roll out carts from the kitchen with pots. Rice, soup, stewed vegetables, boiled eggs, peanuts, bananas, papaya – not all at once, of course, but rice is always there. These carts stop at each block. Inmates with their own dishes take turns receiving a portion from the dispenser. Most often, there's no strict limit, as many buy groceries, eat from visits, or cook for themselves in the blocks. Therefore, there is no shortage of food. Drinking water comes in 20-liter bottles, either purchased or from the tap. Now, it seems they've installed filters, and they distribute water for free from the kitchen.
On the territory of each block, there is a well, and a pump brings water into tanks on the roof, from where it enters the cells. At least on the island, there are no water problems. In Bangli, where we are located in the mountains, tap water is clean – safe to drink.
Visits and deliveries are scheduled every day. Everything is very fast. Superficial inspection and through the scanner tape. Visits – twice a day, seven days a week in Kerobokan, five times a week for us. In Kerobokan, the inspection is superficial; with us, it's stricter – thorough. Some women compare it to a visit to the gynecologist. For visits – a large hall divided in half by a "bar counter" with a grille. In Kerobokan, there's no time limit; for us, it's 30 minutes.

Conditions in the cells

Depending on the size of the cell, there can be two or more occupants. In our cell in Kerobokan, there were four. Picture this: a compartment in a train carriage, but add a small kitchen in the aisle and, separately, a shower-toilet (2 m²).
In Kerobokan, all cells are different since residents are not particularly restricted in arranging their living space. Locals live in their own way, often on the floor. Foreigners are much more cultured.
Here in Bangli, it's different. Most cells are uniform, housing 15-17 people in a space designed for 11. It's concrete. About 80% of the cell is a concrete platform with mattresses laid out. Windows are near the ceiling. The ceilings are high.
Kerobokan has a capacity for 600 people, but there are 1500-1800 residents. On average, a block's cells are designed for 50-60 people, but they house 100-150, meaning about 70% of inmates sleep in a common hall. However, there is a routine: a headcount at 7 am – the block is opened (cells are not locked), and until 6 pm, you can be anywhere on the premises. They count everyone four times a day (at 7 am, 12 pm, 6 pm, and 8 pm).
In Bangli, inmates stay in their cells for 21-22 hours a day.
Surprisingly, there are few parasites – rats, mice, cockroaches. Here in the mountains, there are even fewer because it gets cold at night.


Regarding corruption, you've already understood everything. Bangli is perhaps the only prison where money doesn't solve anything. Nepotism exists, of course. The security personnel may not change for 10-20 years. Only the prison chief and head of security change (every 2-4 years, for sure). Often, the prison chief is purely nominal, while an old security guard makes all the decisions. Only in my presence did three security guards become inmates in the same prison for drugs and corruption.

Who is the most imprisoned foreigner?

In drug-related cases, the majority of foreigners are Russians, Nigerians, Australians, Germans. There are also Indians, Malaysians, English, French, Chinese, Japanese, Italians, Greeks, South Africans, Iranians. From the former USSR countries - Georgians, Belarusians, Ukrainians.
For fraud cases (skimmers), the nationalities involved include Turks, Algerians, Bulgarians, Romanians; for murders - British, Americans. Cases involving pedophiles often include individuals from Australia and Morocco.
Long sentences are mostly associated with drug-related offenses, often exceeding 5 years. Many individuals receive sentences of more than 10 years, and there are a few cases with life sentences, all involving foreigners.

Parole, amnesties, escapes

Amnesty does not exist. There is remission. Each year, several months are cut off, and the number of months increases with each passing year. In general, the system is complex and, more often than not, involves payment. I have provided more details on this topic above (JC and UDO).
UDO, also known as Parole, allows for release after two-thirds of the sentence. Almost all locals are released through this system. However, as far as I know, there have been only three cases of foreigners being released through UDO in the entire history. The issue is that, after being released at 2/3 of the sentence, you must remain on the island, in the country, reporting monthly. But for this, the embassy must vouch for you. Embassies rarely take such a risk.
During my time, there were two escapes (in 2017 and 2018). In the first case, four foreigners escaped through a tunnel under the fence: an Australian, a Chinese, a Bulgarian, and an Indian. The first two are still wanted. The latter was found a month later in a hotel on a neighboring island, brought back for questioning in Kerobokan, and then transferred to Java. All four escaped from our block (BLOCK B). The guy who dug the tunnel (a local) is serving time with me in Bangli.
The second escape involved two Americans: a young guy and an old man. They escaped over the fence, but the old man didn't make it and fell onto the barbed wire between the fences, injuring his back. They found him there. The young guy was discovered a month later on Lombok Island. He is now serving time here, with me in the adjacent cell. Legally, no additional sentence is imposed for escaping, but the right to UDO is revoked, and the prisoner is transferred to a facility with a stricter regime.
Both of these stories could fill several chapters of a separate book. All the characters involved are colorful, and in both cases, there were curious incidents.
Locals rarely attempt to escape. They seem to like being in prison. For example, a few years ago, an Indonesian escaped from Kerobokan for a night, killed his wife, and returned quietly, claiming he had an alibi. He got caught.
Bangli Prison probably has the strictest regime, except for prisons for especially dangerous criminals. Here, there are no phones, music, drugs, alcohol, or even weights and dumbbells. No mirrors either. In a day, prisoners get 1.5-2 hours outside the cell. Any violation results in the "karzer" where you sit in only underwear and are fed rice with salt.
Out of 600 inmates, there are about 650 informants. All the undesirables from other prisons end up here, and the worst and most corrupt become assistants to the guards, enjoying their protection.
Time flies quickly. There are books, palm trees on the premises, the sun warms during the day, there are good people (not without them), communication with family and loved ones, a pull-up bar, a guitar, and decent food. Living is possible. And if you have a clear head, you can avoid boredom, maintain your health, and quietly develop. That's essentially what I'm doing.


It's time to thank those who are somehow connected to this article.
First and foremost, I would like to thank Yulia Sokolova for invaluable assistance in creating, editing, translating from written to electronic form, posting, and disseminating this material. Thanks for providing everything necessary (pen, paper, and much more), including motivation and encouragement. Without you, I would have been writing it for another couple of years.
Thanks to Stanislav Andreevich for the opportunity to share this material with the maximum number of people.
Thanks to Anna and Vitya for being with me throughout this quest. Your support and care are priceless.
Thanks to my family and friends for believing in me and walking through this whole journey, never letting go of my hand.
Thanks to all those whom I didn't know before, for thousands of kind messages on the Internet, for letters and postcards, for treats and parcels, for books, for the support that I felt and continue to receive from the first days of imprisonment.
May the sun always shine in your eyes!
October 1, 2020
from Roma Kalashnikov
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