The Inertia for Good Editor

The Inertia

In late April, Australian Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones was arrested on charges that he’d gone on a “drunken naked rampage” through Simeulue Island off the west coast of Sumatra. Risby-Jones was on a surf trip when he’d allegedly gotten so drunk from “just one shot” of vodka (and the exhaustion of surfing all day, plus sunstroke) that locals claimed he got naked, attacked a resort security guard where he was staying, then ventured into the nearby village where he continued on a rampage attacking the local people who describe the scene more like a demonic possession than a terrible bender fueled by one shot of Absolut vodka. One of those people was a fisherman whose injuries required 50 stitches.

That is the story according to locals and police, while ABC News, for example, laid out a more believable account where Risby-Jones admits to having a drink before stepping out for a night swim in his underwear. Things spiraled out of control when locals confronted him and a mob put him under citizens arrest. Whatever actually transpired before his run-in with locals, the Queensland surfer was held in jail for several weeks. Local police held a press conference where they displayed the tourist like a war criminal wearing an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs, and a balaclava, and forced him to give a public apology that was broadcast for the world to see. All of this, by the way, because alcohol is banned on the ultra-conservative island, making Risby-Jones’s alleged crimes punishable by as much as five years in prison or two years in prison with 40 lashes, depending on whether or not he was prosecuted under Sharia law or Aceh law…or the family could negotiate and pay what really just amounted to a ransom. The initial amount proposed that could make this all go away was a financial settlement of $61,000, owed to the family of the injured fisherman.

On Wednesday it was announced that Risby-Jones will, in fact, be released and avoid prison after his family agreed to a $A25,000 settlement. Apparently, the Risby-Jones family paid the sum last month but local authorities only recently signed off on the deal. clearing the way for the Australian to finish his surf trip from hell.

“I’m very, very relieved and happy and I’m very grateful too that I can go home,” Risby-Jones said. “I had made a fool of myself and it was shown publicly worldwide.”

‘This case shows that even though a lot of Australians tangle with the law in Bali, things can be very different in other parts of Indonesia, particularly Aceh,” ABC News pointed out.


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