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Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Indonesian schoolboy cleared of bee sting 'abuse'

Bees
The boy allegedly put the bee on to his classmate's cheek

An Indonesian schoolboy who was facing "serious abuse" charges for causing a bee to sting a classmate has been cleared by a court, reports say.

The boy, believed to be about nine years old, had allegedly placed the bee on a girl's face where it stung her.

Her parents reported him to the police who arrested him. He faced up to three years in prison.

But the judge said the case was about "normal children's naughtiness" and should never have reached court.

"It could have been settled amicably by the school and the parents involved," judge Sutriadi Yahya was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

Mr Yahya said the boy had been acquitted of all charges and the court would "leave it to the parents to guide him".

The boy's mother, Any Sulistyowati, wept as the verdict was read out, said AFP.

"We're satisfied with the judge's decision. We will look after our child properly," she said.

The Jakarta Post said the girl's parents were angry that she was being teased at school and had wanted to make an example of the boy.

Children in Indonesia are tried as adults from the age of eight, but there are calls for the age to be raised to 12.

Juveniles who are given prison sentences usually serve their term in adult jails, contrary to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Indonesia is a signatory.

In 2009, a group of 10 boys who worked as shoe shiners were accused of gambling while waiting for customers in the capital, Jakarta.

They were found guilty and faced five years in prison, but were returned to their parents' care after a public outcry.



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