|Occupation||chef, interior decorator|
Michaël Loïc Blanc (born 1974) is a French national who was convicted for drug trafficking in Indonesia after 3.8 kilograms of hashish was found in his diving gear while attempting to enter Bali, Indonesia.
Sentenced to life imprisonment, Blanc served 14 years in Cipinang Prison, in Jakarta area. His case, which has been compared to imprisoned Australian tourist Schapelle Corby, has received media coverage by both the French and Indonesian press, being featured on prime time news shows Sept à huit and Tout le monde en parle.
Early life and arrest
The youngest of three children, Michael Blanc was born to Jean-Claude Blanc and Helene Le Touzey in Bonneville in the department of Haute-Savoie in southeastern France. Leaving the country at age 19, Blanc travelled to Senegal and later spent time in the Caribbean, Greece, India, Malaysia and Thailand working at various times as a chef and interior decorator during the 1990s.
He had been living in Bali for a year when, after returning from a recent trip to India, he was detained by immigration officials at Ngurah Rai Airport on December 26, 1999 after a green-black bag in his possession, containing two diving tanks, was inspected having gone through the X-ray machine. While still in custody, Blanc gave his consent to have his luggage inspected by police dogs. Drilling open the tanks, officials found a total of 189 rolls and 178 tablets of hashish, weighing 3.8 kilograms, contained in the diving tanks.
Interviewed by investigators of the Directorate General of Customs, Blanc denied any knowledge of the drugs claiming the diving tanks belonged to an acquaintance named Philip, a Frenchman of Israeli descent who lived in Paris. Having met at a café in Seminyak, Bali, the two travelled to India and, after their return to Bali, Philip had disappeared after Blanc had arrived at the airport. During his interview, he was unable to provide sufficient evidence to identify Philip however.
Trial and conviction
Arrested by the Denpasar Police, Blanc was held in the Denpasar police detention center where he met with his lawyer Dwi Surya Adibudi SH. Through the French Honorary Consul in Bali, his family was also contacted and, in August 2000, his mother Helene was granted a leave of absence from her accounting job and flew to Bali to attend her son's trial.
During the trial, Blanc's lawyer argued that there had been a breach of procedure by airport officials pointing out Blanc was never inspected in the same room as the piece of evidence in question and was not accompanied by a French-speaking interpreter during his interview with officials. Blanc had also asked police to check the tanks for fingerprints, however the officials failed to comply with his request.
While prosecutors had called for the death penalty in this case, the Denpasar court found Blanc guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced Michael to life in prison on November 16, 2000. He was imprisoned in Kerobokan Prison on Bali, then was transferred in Madiun, East Java and finally Cipinang, Jakarta Indonesia.
Appeal and public outcry
Immediately after the appeal, both Adibudi and the prosecution appealed to the Denpasar Appellate Court over the decision, however neither were able to obtain an appeal to overturn the judge's ruling.
Helene Le Touzey continued her campaigning for her son's release and, appealing to the Indonesia Supreme Court, Blanc's verdict was upheld and was fined an additional $70,000 on June 14, 2001. During the appeal, a French government official had told Le Touzey that it would cost her between ₣ 800,000 to ₣ 1,000,000 (roughly $203,000-$254,000) to secure a reduced sentence for Blanc however she refused to pay.
The French foreign ministry has since made diplomatic requests for extradition  and, in January 2005, French President Jacques Chirac asked Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirajuda about the possibility of moving Blanc to a French prison while Hassan was speaking at a hearing with the House of Representatives' Commission I.
Release and parole
- "Frenchman freed on parole from Indonesian jail after 14 years". AFP. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Freedom fighter tells Corby not to give up". The Age. 16 April 2005
- L'Emission, Krinein magazine 10 December 2005
- Télépoche, 27 November 2001
- Kleden, Hermien Y.; Nuria Widyasari and Akmal Naser Basral (2005-06-28). "Helene, a Lengthy Devotion". Foreign Prisoner Support Service.
- Grange, Jocelyn (2006-02-25). "Paris veut sortir Michaël Blanc de sa prison balinaise" (in French). Le Figaro.
- "France Also Seeking Transfer-Of-Prisoners Agreement With RI". The Indonesian National News Agency. June 8, 2005