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Australian drug smuggler gets 20 years in jail JAKARTA - The Indonesian court in Bali Friday morning sentenced 27-year-old Australian beauty therapist Schapelle Corby to 20 years' imprisonment for trafficking 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into the resort island last year, which is much less than the life imprisonment proposed by the prosecutors.

The court rendered the student from a beauty school in Gold Coast, Queensland, guilty of smuggling the marijuana in her body- surfboard bag through the holiday paradise's main international airport last October. Both lawyers and prosecutors said that they will appeal to a higher court.

Meanwhile, Corby maintained her innocence and said that her only crime was not putting locks on her bag to protect it from tampering and the drugs found by airport officials in her bag were not hers, but planted there. Corby's Australian lawyer Robin Tampoe claimed that she was the unwitting victim of an Australian gang that used her luggage to transport marijuana on a domestic flight but failed to remove it before she flew on to Indonesia.

Drug smuggling is punishable by death under Indonesian law. However, prosecutors only asked for a sentence of life in prison. Therefore, her case has drawn much attention from both countries' leaders and government officials. Corby once told her prime minister through the press: "Mr Howard, as a father and as a leader, I plead for your help. I did not do this. I beg for justice."

Howard responded by saying that he would not interfere with Indonesia's judicial process, but hope the ruling to be true, fair, reasonable and just. Australian Justice Minister Chris Ellison once asked Indonesian Attorney-General Abdurrahman Saleh at a meeting in Jakarta recently not to seek the death penalty if Corby is convicted.

"I indicated to the Indonesian attorney-general that Australia was opposed to the death penalty and that in the event of Schapella Corby being found guilty we would plead with the Indonesian Government that the death penalty not be sought," Ellison told the press. Linton Sirait, chief judge in the case, said the court had received a letter sent by the Australian Government, but he was unsure if it will have any influence on the trial.

"I don't know if this will influence the verdict or not. No more evidence can be accepted at this point after the sentencing demand," Sirait told reporters at the Denpasar District court. As the trial was concluded on Friday, some hope can still be cherished by Corby for a transfer back to her homeland and serve her imprisonment there. Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer once said that he was discussing a transfer deal with Indonesian authorities.

Downer said that his proposed prisoner transfer arrangement was not aimed specifically at Corby, but admitted that the government of Prime Minister John Howard has been under intense pressure to act on Corby's behalf. On May 19, Indonesia said that it was willing to make a prisoner transfer deal with Australia, possibly paving the way for Corby to serve her sentence in her own country.

Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said that he has not received a formal letter from Australia regarding a prisoner transfer, but that his government will consider it. "In the practices of international relations, the handing over of convicts to their original country is not a strange thing....We are open, but what is needed is an agreement on transfer of prisoners that is effective in general." Wirayuda said.

Meanwhile, the case has received massive attention in Australia. Friday's sentence was carried live on local television, the culmination of saturation coverage that has not been seen in local media for decades. Through television, the Australians saw Corby break down in tears on the stand one day, sobbing that she did not know how long she could cope with the stress of her imprisonment.

She was also seen delivering a rousing plea for mercy to the judges on the final day of submissions: "My life at the moment is in your hands, but I'd prefer it if my life was in your hearts." According to polls conducted by Australian media, more than 90 percent of the participants felt sorry for Corby, thought her innocent and wanted her back to home.

Many Australians, who regard Bali as their tropical playground, believed that they could innocently find themselves in Corby's situation. The case has also put Bali under the spotlight, with Indonesia's police chief labeling it a hub for international drug trafficking syndicates.

Indonesian police arrested nine Australians last month and 20 in the past five years in Bali for alleged heroin trafficking. Some of them have yet to face trial. Police suspected that a well-organized gang from Australia has been manipulating drug trafficking through Bali to Australian cities.

The trial came at a time of improved ties between Jakarta and Canberra. In April, Indonesian President Susilio Banbang Yudhoyono concluded an official visit to Australia and signed a framework agreement with Howard to develop partnership between the two countries. Indonesian Ambassador to Australia Imlan Kordan once told the press that the Corby case will not affect the Australian- Indonesian ties which is becoming better and better in these days.


Related blog entries (category 'Drugs') Related blog entries (category 'Drugs'):
23 May 2005 · More jail for Corby whatever the result
09 May 2005 · Teen faces court in connection with Bali nine
29 April 2005 · Corby urges judges to free her
29 April 2005 · Police kill Nepalese drug peddler in Jakarta
29 April 2005 · Bali Nine linked to major drug syndicate


Posted in Drugs @ 27 May 2005 09:40 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





Jeroen
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Bali Nine linked to major drug syndicate

Will the Indonesian government really take action against the syndicate(s) which have probably been active in Indonesia for quite some time? I can only hope they will.

The nine Australians arrested earlier will probably be charged with things that carry the death penalty, but extradiction is another issue...



Jeroen
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How on earth did she think she could bring this bag to Bali? Maybe her boyfriend gave her a 'pillow'?? Damn... pretty stupid if you ask me. Any doubt that she has been tricked is gone with me now. Of course I'm still an outside, but hey.. look at the size of that bag... Emoticon: Laugh out loud



Jeroen
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In Australia they have a different view on this all. She's innocent for sure, so they now want to boycott Bali. But I'm pretty sure they can't live without being/playing ignorant fools for a few days a year. Emoticon: Puh!



Jantje
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Jeroen,
The verdict is out of all proportions and rediculous Emoticon: Nooo . So is the Australian p.o



Jeroen
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On 30-05-2005 14:31 Jantje wrote:
Jeroen,
The verdict is out of all proportions and rediculous Emoticon: Nooo . So is the Australian p.o


Do you think so because you are Dutch and know the local laws here (for you it should be 'there' Emoticon: Wink ? I'm kind of happy that they finally made some examples. She's lucky she's not executed for this, like in Singapore.

When I entered Indonesia last time there were big signs 'Drugs is death penalty'. Can it be more clear?



Jantje
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Jeroen
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But you probably also saw my reaction concerning the terrorist which gets away. That should not be related to one another of course, however it's highly odd that such things happen.

I can't make a 100% proper conclusion as well, but if you see the bag of drugs, I can make at least some conclusion for myself, right? For the rest I don't have a clue whether she is lieing or not, but the court thinks she is.



Ronny
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Hi all Emoticon: semua

I wish the court all the wishdom they need all over the whole country from lovely Indonesia .
Drugs in your pocket ????? [last week in flight k.l.m / jkrt bandara from a.dam /jkrt post ]
Please dont start to cry...just accept the penalty ,no need to say
;so sorry or ;I didn,t know.
If you try to destroy human [ young] life ????? Emoticon: Angry .......Dead by hanging as soon as possible ,even here in China . permisi
Ronny / Beijing



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