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'Sex abuse' diplomat hangs himself in jail
Updated: 2004-05-12 16:17

A former Australian diplomat hanged himself in a Bali jail cell a day after he was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for sexually assaulting two boys on the Indonesian resort island, prison guards said today.

In Canberra, Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer expressed regret over the death of William Stuart Brown, but applauded the harsh sentence handed down by the Indonesian court.

An Indonesian court has jailed former Australian diplomat William Stuart Brown, 52, for 13 years for having sex with underage boys in the resort island of Bali. [AFP]
Brown’s body was discovered in his cell in the eastern town of Karangasem today, guard Ida Bagus Oka said.

Brown, 52, had made a noose from material taken from his mattress, Oka said. He hanged himself from metal bars blocking access to a ventilation hole in the ceiling of the cell.

Brown was yesterday convicted of assaulting two boys, aged 12 and 16, on Bali last year. He broke into tears, raised his fists and swore at the judges and the public gallery, where onlookers cheered and clapped after the sentence was read out.

The case had attracted widespread media attention in Australia.

Brown was arrested in January. Judges said he admitted having had sexual contact with the boys, but maintained they were willing participants. The age of consent in Indonesia is 14, though homosexuality is illegal.

Brown moved to Indonesia from Canberra, Australia, eight years ago. He had worked at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta in 1982-84, and was last employed at a tourism school in Denpasar, the capital of Bali.

In Canberra, Downer said Brown had been fired from his diplomatic job in Jakarta over allegations of child abuse.

But the government took no further action against him at the time because the claims could not be proved, Downer said.

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