This book tells the story of the Bali's most notorious jail which I like to think about as 'hell on Earth'. Quite ironically, it is located just outside the heavenly Bali beaches and tourist resort. In this book you will find everything that is wrong with this world: murder, drugs, drugs-trafficking, terrorism, addictions, suicide, fatal beating, corruption, sex parties, rape, corruption, depression, madness, malice, AIDS...there is also a story of one of the prisoners hacking someone's head with a machette or one of the prisoners setting another on fire. Human rights are non-existent in Hotel K. The story is told from the prespective of the prisoners who share their tales and reflections with us. I would like to share some of my reflections now too. I believe it is better to be dead than spend the rest of one's life in a jail like this. That - though - might be the point, as the punishment is severe. Sometimes - too severe and almost always unfair.The justice system is corrupted to the core and that explains how a prisoner caught trafficking 400g of heroin gets a death penalty and a richer one caught trafficking couple of kilograms only ten years. Then there is a story of Shapelle - an Australian caught trafficking couple of kilos of marijuana into Indonesia. Just getting acquainted with the facts of her case persuades me of her innocence. Why would you try to traffic drugs worth 20,000 in Australia to Indonesia where you could buy them for 4,000? Her trial was a joke as vital evidence was burnt. Her pleads for fingerprints testing, weight measuring, CCTV observations...went unanswered.
Interestingly enough, a while ago I published a review of 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert. In that review, I wrote that Bali is definetely a place I would like to visit after reading her story. Well, not anymore. And to every friend who wants to go I would give that book to read.There is always a very slight chance that someone could plant drugs into your bag. Given that judges do not look into facts and the only way not to get a long sentence isto throw $ at them - the risk is simply not worth taking.
Last but not least, I do not believe that anyone caught trafficking drugs deserves a life sentence in a place like this.Sure, most of the time it was their choice to traffic those drugs but no human being derserves to spend time there. Ironically enough, Hotel K is the place where you could buy the cheapest heroin and most of the prisoners are addicted or become addicted once in jail. Guards turn the blind eye and in some cases do drugs too. More interestingly, even murderers and rapists walk free sooner than drug traffickers.The country should be ashamed of itself and never before have I been happier to be European.
Don't give this book a miss. There is a good chance you will give Indonesia a miss after reading it.