1 000 Indonesia cops on drugs
Banda Aceh - Nearly 1 000 police officers
found to have used drugs in Indonesia's staunchly Muslim Aceh province will be
given a month to get clean or face dismissal, police said on Wednesday.
The officers, representing at least 6% of the provincial police force, failed drug tests carried out by the
National Narcotics Agency, Aceh police chief Iskandar Hasan told AFP.
The police tested positive for a range of
drugs, including crystal methamphetamine, known commonly as ice, marijuana, and
MDMA, the active drug in ecstasy pills.
Police have sent 189 officers so far to
"We will give them a month to see
whether they will change their ways or not. If they cannot change, we'll fire
them," he said.
Hasan said marijuana use was widespread in
the region, where the plant is cultivated and traditionally used in cooking and
added to beverages.
Aceh police two weeks ago seized and
destroyed around two tonnes of the plant.
"Drugs are easy to find in Aceh, and this
matter has not got a lot of attention in the past," he said.
Aceh, on the northernmost tip of Sumatra
island, is a known gateway for trafficking drugs, especially for crystal
methamphetamine entering the country.
Indonesia enforces stiff penalties, including
the death sentence and life imprisonment, for drug trafficking.
It also criminalises personal drug use,
recently sentencing a 14-year-old Australian boy to two months' imprisonment
for buying 6.9 grams of marijuana.
Police said, however, that the officers would
not be arrested, despite the strict sharia laws that apply to the Muslim
Aceh adopted partial sharia in 2001 as part
of a special autonomy package aimed at quelling separatist sentiment, and laws
are enforced by sharia police.
Muslims there can be charged for consuming
alcohol and adulterers have been caned.
Nearly 90% of Indonesia's 240 million people
are Muslims, but the vast majority practice a moderate form of Islam.