An Australian man accused of smuggling drugs into Bali will face trial on charges that carry the death penalty, Indonesian prosecutors have confirmed.
Michael Sacatides, 43, was arrested at Bali’s international airport on October 1 when customs officers found 1.7kg of methamphetamine concealed in his luggage.
The kickboxing trainer from Sydney’s west has been in police custody ever since. After a two-month investigation police on Thursday finally handed the case to the Denpasar District Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutor Ketut Sujaya confirmed Sacatides was charged under articles 112 and 113 of Indonesia’s narcotics laws for possessing and importing drugs.
The latter charge carries a maximum penalty of death where the volume of drugs exceeds five grams.
“We will deliver this to the court in a week to 10 days at the latest,” Mr Sujaya told reporters.
Sacatides’ lawyer Erwin Siregar said he expected the case to go to trial in the coming months.
“In my estimation, the trial will begin at the end of December or early January,” he said.
Sacatides has denied the drugs – worth an estimated $A390,000 – belong to him. He told investigators he had borrowed the bag from an Indian associate in Bangkok, where he had been living.
Three Australians – Scott Rush, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran – are currently on death row in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison over a 2005 attempt to smuggle more than 8kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.
All three currently have final appeals – known as judicial reviews – before the Indonesian Supreme Court.
Another six members of the so-called Bali Nine are serving sentences of between 20 years and life in prison over the plot.
The Gold Coast’s Schapelle Corby is serving 20 years for smuggling more than 4kg of marijuana into Bali in 2004.