Indonesia to deport Australian surfer after drunken assault

Travel Guide

In a recent incident on the Indonesian island of Simeulue, an Australian surfer found himself detained after a drunken assault. The incident occurred in Aceh, Indonesia’s most conservative province, which follows Islamic law. This article explores the details of the incident, the decision to deport the Australian surfer, and the implications of the incident in the context of Aceh’s strict regulations.

The Incident: Australian Surfer’s Drunken Assault

Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, a 23-year-old Australian surfer from Noosa in southern Queensland, was involved in a drunken assault on Simeulue. In April, he attacked several individuals on the island, resulting in legal consequences and potential imprisonment. The incident raised concerns due to the conservative nature of the region and its adherence to Islamic law.

Deportation Decision and Apology

Following the incident, Indonesian officials decided to deport Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones instead of pursuing a lengthy legal process. The head of the immigration office in Meulaboh city, West Aceh, stated that Risby-Jones would be returned to Australia after apologizing and providing compensation to one of the victims. This decision was made after careful consideration of the circumstances and the willingness of the victim to forgive.

Ultra-Conservative Aceh and Islamic Law

Aceh is known for its ultra-conservative stance and strict adherence to Islamic law. The province, granted special autonomous status, prohibits the consumption of alcohol. It stands as the only region in the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country to enforce Islamic law. The incident involving Risby-Jones highlighted the clash between the actions of a foreign visitor and the religious and cultural sensitivities of the local population.

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Acts of Repentance and Forgiveness

To avoid the legal consequences of his actions, Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones took steps to express remorse and seek forgiveness. He issued an apology for his behavior and provided compensation to one of the victims. The victim, showing forgiveness and understanding, played a crucial role in resolving the situation and allowing the case to be dropped.

Avoiding Trial and Compensation

By demonstrating acts of repentance and compensating the injured victim, Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones managed to avoid standing trial for assault. The potential maximum sentence of five years no longer loomed over him. He paid 250 million rupiah ($16,814) to cover the medical costs of the fisherman who was injured during the incident. These actions contributed to the resolution of the case and paved the way for his deportation.

Return to Australia

Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, having fulfilled the necessary requirements set forth by Indonesian officials, was transferred from detention on Simeulue island to Meulaboh. From there, he was scheduled to return to his home country, Australia. His release was marked by a press conference, where he expressed regret for his actions and urged fellow Australians to respect the rules and regulations of other nations.

Reflecting on the Incident and Future

Following his release, Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones expressed his relief at being out of prison and the positive emotions associated with the experience. He acknowledged his mistakes and hoped to learn from them. When asked about the possibility of returning to Indonesia in the future, he expressed a desire to do so, indicating that he had not been deterred by the incident.

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The incident involving Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones serves as a reminder of the importance of respecting local customs and regulations when visiting foreign countries. Aceh’s strict adherence to Islamic law and its prohibition of alcohol highlight the need for visitors to be mindful of the cultural sensitivities of the region. The decision to deport Risby-Jones after his acts of repentance and compensation demonstrates the potential for resolution and forgiveness in such situations.


1. What led to the deportation of the Australian surfer in Indonesia?

The Australian surfer, Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones, was involved in a drunken assault in Aceh, Indonesia’s most conservative province. As a result, Indonesian officials decided to deport him instead of pursuing legal proceedings.

2. Why is Aceh known for its conservative stance?

Aceh follows Islamic law and has been granted special autonomous status. It is the only region in Indonesia that enforces Islamic law and prohibits the consumption of alcohol.

3. How did the Australian surfer avoid trial and deportation?

Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones expressed remorse for his actions, issued an apology, and compensated one of the victims. This display of repentance and the victim’s forgiveness contributed to the decision to deport him.

4. What were the consequences the Australian surfer faced for the assault?

Initially, Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones was facing a potential five-year prison sentence for the assault. However, through acts of repentance and compensation, he managed to avoid trial and the associated legal consequences.

5. Will the Australian surfer return to Indonesia in the future?

Despite the incident, Bodhi Mani Risby-Jones expressed a desire to return to Indonesia in the future, indicating that the incident had not deterred him from visiting the country again.

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