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Indonesia prison warden denies Briton's abuse claims

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Rachel Dougall waits inside a holding cell before her sentencing at a court in Denpasar, Bali on December 20, 2012. The warden of a notorious Indonesian prison has strongly denied claims by former inmate Dougall that she had been abused and that the jail was rife with drug use. (AFP/File)

The warden of a notorious Indonesian prison strongly denied on Tuesday claims by a British former inmate that she had been abused and that the jail was rife with drug use.

Rachel Dougall, 40, told Britain's Daily Mail newspaper this week that she was beaten, bullied and had to fend off sexual advances from a female inmate and male guards.

Her allegations came after she finished a 12-month sentence related to drugs and was deported to Britain in May.

"Her allegations don't match the facts on the ground," prison warden I Gusti Ngurah Wiratna at the Kerobokan jail on the resort island of Bali told AFP.

"We questioned 16 foreign inmates at her block and they said her statements were nonsense," he said, adding the allegations were "serious and damaging".

Dougall, who was imprisoned for not reporting her boyfriend's possession of cocaine, claimed inmates beat her up several times.

"I would cover up my face and take the beatings as they punched and kicked me," Dougall told the Daily Mail, adding inmates tried to force her to take drugs.

She described repeated sexual advances from a lesbian inmate who "ran" the women's block.

"Because I rebuffed her, she would force me to dress up in leather or other fancy clothes and dance like a stripper while the other women laughed and pushed me around. I was humiliated," Dougall said.

She said most of the women were on drugs "virtually every day".

"If you had money the guards would get you anything you wanted. Inmates in the men's prison next door even paid prostitutes for overnight visits," she said.

Wiratna said consulate representatives made visits to see British inmates around three times a month and Dougall had never raised any concerns.

"If she had been mistreated, why didn't she complain to them? They would certainly have relayed her complaints to us," he said.

British embassy officials declined to comment on Dougall, saying in a statement to AFP: "We take allegations of mistreatment very seriously and will raise them with the local authorities if the individual gives their permission."

Dougall was arrested in a police sting in 2012 after Briton Lindsay June Sandiford, 56, was found with almost five kilograms (11 pounds) of cocaine in her suitcase at the island's international airport.

Dougall was one of four Britons and an Indian national suspected in a drug ring, but she was convicted only of failing to report her boyfriend, Julian Ponder, for drug possession.

Sandiford, who helped police net the others, was sentenced to death for smuggling.

Media reports have said Kerobokan, where several dozen foreigners are held, is notorious for drugs, corruption and abuse.

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