12 Indonesians dead after drinking bootleg alcohol

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Twelve Indonesian men have died after drinking bootleg liquor, police said Tuesday, the latest deaths in the Muslim-majority country caused by homemade alcohol.

The victims died in Bantul district in the main island of Java in recent days, said local police spokeswoman Anny Pudjiastuti.

Four other people are in hospital after drinking the liquor, she said.

A man suspected of selling the alcohol has been arrested in Bantul, which is in Central Java, and 81 bottles of liquor confiscated.

“The suspect could be charged with causing death and could be jailed for 15 to 20 years,” said Pudjiastuti.

Police said they were still investigating what the bootleg liquor contained.

There have been several cases in recent years of people dying after drinking bootleg alcohol. In February 26 people in Sleman district — next to Bantul — died after consuming locally-bought homebrew.

Indonesia is home to the world’s biggest Muslim population, but most practise a moderate form of Islam and alcohol is available in big cities.

However in rural areas, where few drink, getting hold of alcohol can be difficult and people sometimes turn to potentially dangerous homebrews.

-AFP

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