Australians await verdict over Papua flight PDF Afdrukken

Posted at 01:51 on 15 January, 2009 UTC

Five Australians detained for illegally entering Indonesia’s Papua province are to find out today if they face extended jail terms.

The five are accused of entering Indonesia without proper visa documents when they travelled to Papua on a small chartered plane from Queensland last September.

The Merauke District Court will hand down its decision following separate trials for pilot William Scott-Bloxam and his four Queensland passengers.

The Australians have described it as a sightseeing flight, claiming they mistakingly believed they could get visas on arrival in Papua.

Indonesian prosecutors have demanded they all be jailed for three years with fines of 3,000 US dollars for the pilot, and 2,000 for the passengers who are between 50 and 60 years old.

The court heard that the flight was chartered on advice from a Christian missionary who runs flights between remote churches and Christian communities in Papua New Guinea, Papua and northern Australia.