Wednesday, March 5, 2014


    Jakarta, March 5, 2014 (Antara) - News about Schapelle Leigh Corby, an Australian tourist, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into Indonesia  through Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport in October 2004, is often controversial.
         In 2012, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's decision to cut her sentence by five years on humanitarian grounds sparked a political uproar at home. The reduction of Corby's sentence triggered a perception that the government had bowed to pressure from Australia.

         There was another controversy when the Indonesian government made a decision to release the 36-year-old beauty on parole in February 2014, after she had served 9.5 years of her prison term. She has, so far, received remissions in her sentence for a total of 25 months.
        Corby finally walked free under parole on February 10, 2014 from her jail in Bali, where she had spent two thirds of her prison term for drug smuggling.
         The young woman from Queensland, Australia, walked out of the Kerobokan prison in Denpasar under heavy police guard.
        She, however, is required to stay in Indonesia until 2017, where she lives with her sister Mercedes in Bali.
        The parole release of Corby had been widely criticized, with the government accused of bowing to pressure from Australia.
        Drug trafficking is categorized as an extraordinary crime in Indonesia, like terrorism and corruption.
        The National Movement Against Narcotics (Granat) strongly protested the parole, regardless of prisoners' right. The crimes committed by Corby or other drug convicts are a threat to the safety of the nation, the movement's chairman, senior lawyer Henry Yosodiningrat, said.
        Henry said the government should be sensitive to the public's sense of justice.
        The government defended its decision by saying the release was not because of any pressure, or a generosity of the government. The government added "it is because of Corby's right."
   Corby was one of 1,291 inmates whose parole had been processed, Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin said recently.
         "I do not want to speak specifically about Schapelle. What I want to say is that this conditional parole is neither a policy, nor a generosity of the government. It is a law that was regulated and enacted by the government," Amir stated.
    He remarked that the government's decision to grant parole to Corby would not undermine the country's justice system.
        Based upon the regulation, parole may be granted to a prisoner who has demonstrated good conduct while in prison, as shown in Register F that contains records of order violations and disciplinary sanctions.
        Just a few days after her release on parole, another controversy broke out when the media reported about a planned exclusive interview of Corby with Australia's Channel Seven.
         According to several media reports, Channel Seven was willing to pay up to $3 million for exclusive rights to Corby's story.
         In response to the planned interview, Indonesia's Deputy Law and Human Rights Minister Denny Indrayana warned that he would revoke her parole if she went ahead with the plan.
         The Indonesian government forbade Corby from getting payment for an interview, as it would breach her parole conditions.
         "We disagree with the arranged exclusive interview because it is polemic. If it happens, Corby's release on a parole can be revoked," he noted.
         Denny said the three potential concerns were the subject of the interview, whether Corby was paid for it and whether the family had disregarded the instructions of the Indonesian government to not give an interview to the media.
         On Sunday, March 2, Channel Seven aired an exclusive footage of Corby's first days out of prison. Also, instead of an exclusive interview with Schapelle Corby, her sister Mercedes talked about her sister's feelings on the Sunday night television program.
         In the interview, Mercedes denied being paid by Channel Seven. "Recent media reports about payment to Schapelle for an interview are wrong. The sums being reported are ridiculous," Mercedes said.
         The Channel Seven Network repeatedly denied that there has been, or would be, any payment for the program. The Sunday night program drew 1.09 million viewers in the five major capital cities.
         The 11-minute long interview, led by Mike Willesee, described how Schapelle Corby, who is also called as the "Queen of Marijuana" was freed under tight security from the Kerobokan jail and entered the car that took her to a luxury villa in Siminyak in Kuta, Bali.
         The documentary video aired by Channel Seven on the Sunday night program also presented Schapelle, who was warmly welcomed by a number of her family members.
         Mercedes in the interview claimed that Schapelle Corby was innocent, suggesting she had been set up. She questioned the origin of the marijuana carried by her sister.
         "We do not know where the marijuana came from. It could be from Indonesia," Mercedes pointed out.
         She also questioned a number of evidence showing that the illegal drug was being carried by Schapelle, when she arrived at Bali's airport.
         "We are still trying to find evidence and information about the pictures at the airport, but they are not available. We have asked for her fingerprints, but there are none. Marijuana and X-Ray test results also are non-existent," she added.
         Following the airing of Mercedes' interview, Minister Amir Syamsuddin said, on March 4, the government was evaluating whether Schapelle Corby's parole terms were violated by the interview her sister gave to the Australian television network.
        "There was an interview, even though it was of her family instead of Schapelle Corby herself," Syamsuddin said. "Therefore we are trying to evaluate the degree to which the incident violated the requirements of the parole," he added.
         The minister stated that that he was waiting for a report from the Bali penitentiary office about the interview and the report would be used as the basis for the evaluation of Schapelle Corby's parole.
         He explained that it was possible that the result of the evaluation could lead to the revocation of the parole and lead to Corby's return to jail.
          According to the minister, the interview has the potential to cause public restlessness and one of the requirements for the parole was that she should not cause such issues.
         The Bali office of the ministry of justice and human rights had summoned Corby's family to question them about the interview on Channel Seven, on Monday, March 3.
          The head of the office's penitentiary division, Sunar Agus, said the summon was met by Mercedes and her husband Wayan Widhyartha.
          They were questioned about the materials in the interview with the Sydney-based television station.
         Agus told the Indonesian press on Tuesday, March 4, that Corby tried to kill herself when he informed her that the government may send her back to prison.
         Schapelle  Corby ran twice to the kitchen to get a knife and attempted to cut her wrist, but was stopped by her sister and prison officials, he added.
         He also said Schapelle Corby appeared unstable and tried to slash her wrist twice with a knife when he met her on Monday night.
         "I felt our communication was not smooth and her body language indicated she was unstable," Agus said. He added that Corby, who appears to be mentally unfit, did not want to return to prison.
/Yosep) 05-03-2014 21:03:46

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