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© Neena Bhandari, Indo Asian News Service

Sydney, July 23 (IANS) Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) Delhi-based South Asia correspondent Peter Lloyd, who was last week arrested in Singapore on charges of trafficking and possession of the drug 'ice', was Wednesday released on bail.

The 41-year-old foreign correspondent was released on bail after a Singaporean friend, Mohamed Mazlee Bin Abdul Malik, posted a surety of A$45,000, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

Under the bail conditions, Lloyd must remain in Singapore and report to Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) thrice a week.

He will again face court Friday, July 25. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in jail and between 5 to 15 lashes from the cane.

Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, who is in Singapore for the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, told newspersons: "Everything we can do for Lloyd is being done. Australian officials continue to render consular assistance. The treatment of his medical condition is appropriate. We now simply await the normal judicial and legal processes to continue."

Lloyd was undergoing hospital treatment for a serious eye condition, while on leave from his posting in New Delhi, when he was arrested July 17.

The veteran journalist has been charged with supplying about one gram of the drug crystal methamphetamine hydrochloride - known by its street name 'ice' - to a 31-year-old Singaporean man for Singapore $100 (A$75) at a hotel early July.

He has also been charged with allegedly being in possession of 0.8 gram of the 'ice', a smoking pipe and six syringes when arrested by the police from Singapore's Central Narcotics Bureau. His urine tested positive for amphetamines.

Singapore imposes some of the most severe penalties for drug use and possession, including a mandatory death penalty for some drug offences.

Trafficking a controlled drug in Singapore attracts a jail term of anywhere between five and 20 years and between five and 15 strokes of the cane.

The award-winning journalist was expected to return to Australia to host ABC's new breakfast show beginning this September.

© Copyright Neena Bhandari. All rights reserved. Republication, copying or using information from any content is expressly prohibited without  the permission of the writer and the news agency through which the article is syndicated.

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