David Matthew Fox is seen after being sentenced to seven months in prison for possession of hashish, at a Denpasar court in Bali, Indonesia March 9, 2017, in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Panji Anggoro/via REUTERS(reuters_tickers)
DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - An Indonesian court sentenced former Reuters journalist David Fox to seven months in prison on Thursday for possession of hashish, less than the one-year jail term sought by prosecutors, meaning that he can be released in a few weeks.
Fox was found with just over 10 grams (0.35 oz) of hashish when police detained him in a bar and raided his home in Sanur, Bali, in October.
The presiding judge, Erwin Djong, said Fox had received a lighter sentence than prosecutors had asked for because he had been cooperative and polite in court and had no prior record.
Fox, who worked for Reuters for two decades until March 2011 and has since been working as an independent consultant, had admitted possession and said he used hashish to cope with stress after his work as a journalist, which included covering wars and natural disasters.
His lawyer, Haposan Sihombing, said Fox accepted the ruling and that the British national, who was brought up in Zimbabwe, would return to the United Kingdom after serving the remainder of his sentence.
Indonesia has strict drug laws and even possession of small amounts of drugs can incur lengthy jail sentences.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo has ordered an intensification in the war on drugs in the Southeast Asian country that includes the execution of traffickers.
(Reporting by Bali stringer; Writing by Fergus Jensen; Editing by Ed Davies and Nick Macfie)