8 Dec 2014

Key reiterates death penalty opposition

5:47 pm on 8 December 2014

New Zealand will reiterate its opposition to the death penalty to Indonesia if a Kiwi caught allegedly smuggling drugs be sentenced to death, Prime Minister John Key says.

Whanganui man Antony de Malmanche is in a Bali prison after allegedly carrying nearly 2kg of methamphetamine into the country - an offence punishable by death.

Antony de Malmanche

Antony de Malmanche Photo: Supplied

Mr Key said the Indonesian Government was aware that New Zealand did not support the death penalty.

"If it looks as if that's how it's going to progress, then obviously we'd make that very clear to the Indonesian president but let's see how things play out."

The New Zealand Government would continue to provide consular support to Mr de Malmanche, with the New Zealand consul in Jakarta to visit the 52-year-old.

Australian journalist Michael Bachelard told Radio New Zealand this morning New Zealand police may have tipped off their Indonesian counterparts to have him arrested, and that he could be facing the death penalty.

"Pure speculation but it's perhaps possible the Bali police were acting on a tip-off from New Zealand police.

Antony de Malmanche

Antony de Malmanche of New Zealand is escorted by customs security in Bali. Photo: AFP

"If they've caught somebody red-handed with drugs in their luggage that is a very difficult thing to get out of.

"It's a fraught thing turning up in Bali with drugs in your bag, and he's in a lot of trouble this man."

Mr Bachelard said Indonesians did not like foreigners bringing drugs into the country.

He said that for Indonesian police such cases were often open and shut and that the death penalty was a "very real threat".

The police here said they had no knowledge that Mr de Malmanche intended to travel to Bali at the time they spoke to him last week, after his worried family expressed concern about his vulnerability while travelling.

Police said they had given him travel advice but that they did not know he planned to go to Bali until after his arrest.

Family raising money for lawyer

Mr de Malmanche's family raised almost $3000 so far to help pay for a lawyer to defend him.

The family were yet to publicly talk about what has happened to him but have started an online campaign to help clear his name.

The family said he was the victim of an internet dating scam and needed a lawyer to help clear his name.

The New Zealand consul in Jakarta was preparing to travel to Bali to visit Mr de Malmanche.

He could be imprisoned for up to three months while the investigation is under way, and if convicted, could be sentenced to death.