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American claims extortion behind Bali jailbreak

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    Agence France-Presse

Denpasar, Bali   /   Wed, December 20, 2017   /   01:03 pm
 American claims extortion behind Bali jailbreak Good karma: Two penitentiary security guards stroll at the front of the Kerobokan state penitentiary in Denpasar on June 19, 2016. A group of inmates who are member of the Hindus pecalang traditional security guard group safeguarded the Idul Fitri prayers on Sunday. (Antara/Nyoman Budhiana) (Antara/Nyoman Budhiana)

An American man who escaped Bali's notorious Kerobokan jail before being recaptured claimed Wednesday he broke out of the facility because he faced extortion threats.

Christian Beasley, who is awaiting sentencing after being caught in August with five grams of hashish, made a break from the Indonesian resort island's main prison with a fellow inmate after cutting a hole in the roof with a hacksaw.

He was found Saturday hiding on the neighboring island of Lombok after five days on the run.

At a press conference Wednesday, the handcuffed American was paraded in front of media with chains around his ankles and wearing an orange prison uniform and balaclava.

The 32-year-old told journalists he escaped because he was being extorted -- although he did not say by whom.

"In jail they threatened me for protection money, that's why I left," he said.

Beasley said he had permission from US authorities to use marijuana for an undisclosed medical condition.

"I need rehab not four years or more in jail, please help me, in my country (it) is not a crime to use ganja -- I have (a) licence," he shouted as he was escorted away by armed officers.

But Kerobokan's chief warden, Tonny Nainggolan, rejected Beasley’s extortion claims as "total nonsense".

He added: "There is no such thing, he made it up, we protect and guarantee the safety of the inmates and detainees in Kerobokan."

Beasley escaped last Monday along with Paul Anthony Hoffman, 57.

Hoffman was immediately recaptured but Beasley managed to cross to Lombok where he evaded police for five days.