Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby

Update: Guilty. We live blogged the verdict listening to an Australian tv network's webcast and live feed of the two hour reading here.

Bump and Update: Drug Activists in Indonesia are calling for the death penalty for Schapelle Corby...for allegedly importing 9 pounds of pot into Bali. They say the Government should make an example of her. As we explain in the original post below, Schappelle maintains her innocence and is awaiting the judges' verdict. We will be bumping this post frequently as new information becomes available to call attention to her plight.

Original Post: 5/12/05

Actor Russell Crowe has taken up the cause of an Australian beautician imprisoned on drug charges in Bali, Indonesia.

Crowe said: "The photographs of Schappelle Corby broke my heart. "I don't understand how we can, as a country, stand by and let a young lady rot away in a foreign prison. That is ridiculous. "It is Indonesia, fine and dandy, but we need to find a rational platform to save this girl's life."

Ms. Corby was jailed after 4.1 pounds kilos of marijuana was found in her luggage. She maintains her innocence. She tried to tell the judges, but it fell on deaf ears.

Alleged marijuana smuggler Schappelle Corby's emotional final plea of innocence was delivered to a bench of apparently unmoved judges, one of whom did not understand her address while another read a book.

She faces life in prison [and possibly the death penalty] if convicted. Her trial has wrapped up and a decision is due May 27. If she is ever granted a new trial and needs more witnesses to come forward, she will have a hard time. One of her defense witnesses was slashed in his jail cell with a razor blade after he testified at ther trial that the drugs had been stashed in her luggage by a gang. He's now in solitary for his protection.

And the latest: A police report yesterday shows that a slew of baggage handlers were arrested in a cocaine smuggling scheme at the same Australian airport she departed from on the same day...but the Indonesian Court won't hear about it because the trial is over. Here's more on the baggage handler's use of unsuspecting fliers' luggage to smuggle drugs.

Crowe isn't alone in his dedication to her case.

Her cause has spun off enough souvenirs to rival a royal wedding and generated more polls than a federal election campaign. There are T-shirts, hats, bumper stickers and uncon- firmed sightings at suburban barbecues of stubby holders bearing the slogan "Free Schapelle". She's become so famous that no surname is needed.

Here's a news page dedicated to the case, where you can catch up from the beginning.

And on a related note, check out the Bali Nine, 9 Australians, as young as 18, facing the death penalty after a recent arrest for smuggling heroin into Bali. They may not have the innocence claims that Shappelle has, the use of the death penalty shows what a backward country Indonesia is.

It may be enough to boycott Bali.

Update: For other prisoners facing similar fates, check out Foreign Prisoners.com For our prior coverage of Scappelle's case, when she was facing death by firing squad, and a connection to legislation the Bush Administration proposed in 2003, go here.

TalkLeft often highlights the plight of those in foreign prison, particularly those facing the death penalty. See these posts on Tripoli; Vietnam; and Saudi Arabia, to name a few.

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    Another example of selective "defend at all cost" mentality where one person's life holds so much more value than a dozen others'... Blahgdaddy ain't too impressed with these dudes anyway...he blogged this same issue a few weeks ago... [deleted] You gotta have a better excuse than "It's not mine, I don't know how it got there..." Even if you're cute and Australian...

    Why don't you read the whole post and the latest news from yesterday before shooting off your mouth? I'm going to leave your comment up so others can see how lame it is.

    Here is some more information about her case and the Indonesian authorites. Also check out the Wipipedia page.

    My feeling is that she is getting a lot of attention because she's attractive, doesn't 'look the part.' I wonder who took that picture; it's almost an Ivory Girl in the joint ad.

    Very nice language, Tl...Blaghdaddy apologizes for upsetting you... He just finds it hard to get excited about one Australian sitting in an Asian jail...perhaps he's a little too jaded... Blaghdaddy doesn't remember anyone weeping buckets of tears when American judges played solitaire before sentencing black Southerners to death...

    Re: Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby (none / 0) (#6)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:01 PM EST
    Good for her, many times the U.S. DEA/cia/fbi, Will setup young people in that part of the world, i only hope that this poor person will not be raped and killed behind bars. and just remember the government in indonesia has done lots of business with guys like bin laden and our government knows that fact, so in-order to keep on the good side of washington the boys down there need a scapegoat to make washington i.e. Bush happy. if you like "abu ghraib" you should love the prison system in that little part of the world, it is normal place to beat and torture woman and rape is not above the prison guards. Free this girl, do you hear me now?

    She's beautiful and in prison in Indonesia. I wonder what the real reason for her incarceration could be? Just a hunch. I'll pretend I didn't read what Blaghdaddy wrote.

    You people are ruthless tonight. Blaghdaddy can't get elected "dog-catcher" so he bids you all a very good evening while he steps outside for a medicinal smoke and gets ready for the "Daily Show." You guys should too, Blaghdaddy feels some tension on the site that hasn't been there before...call it a day... And drronchee, Blaghdaddy will pretend that you didn't just imply that Indonesians are rape-crazy brown people fixated on a taste of white flesh...he probably didn't read through, so don't worry about it. Goodnight All!! Blagh

    The fact that she is a pretty white girl certainly doesn't hurt her case, so I, too, couldn't help see this case in a somewhat cynical light, though I certainly don't mean to belittle her terrible situation. I hope she gets out. Hey, Blahgman. I, for one, would be more likely to give your posts the benefit of the doubt if you would at least stop referring to yourself in the third person. I'm beginning to think you're actually Bob Dole suffering from a Viagra-induced dementia. ;)

    Re: Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby (none / 0) (#10)
    by DawesFred60 on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:01 PM EST
    think you talkleft for putting out this story, sad fact is people have no idea what can happen to a young woman in that part of the world.

    Re: Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby (none / 0) (#11)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:01 PM EST
    Midnight Express anyone?

    Scarey stuff. I am sure the fact that a movie called Brokendown Palace, I believe which dealt with a very similiar situation, helps to bring attention to this young lady. She deserves at least a fair trial.

    The fact that she's a pretty white girl may well be why her case gets international attention, while others, equally dubious but involving less attractive defendants, remain obscure. That doesn't mean she's guilty, though, or that the injustice being done to her is undeserving of our attention.

    In order to understand this story, you really should know that her flight originated in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. She then flew to Sydney to make a connecting flight to Bali. Queensland is a major source of domestically-grown marijuana, and then it is transported to other major cities in Australia such as Sydney. Even before the bust of the baggage-handlers in Brisbane, it was apparently well-known in the airline industry there that some baggage-handlers used bags going from Brisbane Airport to other Australian cities to smuggle drugs, but that the authorities were doing nothing about it. You gotta know that the bust was only in response to public outcry in this case. And so Schappelle Corby's bag could very well have been used, with the receiver in Sydney missing the bag, and it accidentally going on to Bali when she made her connecting flight. A very big factor to consider is that it's absolutely crazy to even think that anyone would deliberately be importing marijuana INTO Bali. Bali-grown pot is readily available there on the street. Much more likely that it was supposed to have been removed in Sydney. And I also heard that her bag weighed 4kgs less when she checked it in at Brisbane Airport, compared to when she arrived in Bali. So Blaghdaddy, maybe "It's not mine, I don't know how it got there" is a perfectly reasonable and understandable and TRUE defense in a case like this. I hope for your sake that you never get wrongly accused of crime, since there are plenty of other people out there with your knee-jerk reaction that anyone accused must be guilty. Also, a major source of outrage in Australia is that she is facing LIFE in prison, when the Bali Bomber (who killed 200+ Australians as well as other tourists) only got TWO YEARS.

    Re: Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby (none / 0) (#15)
    by expertlaw on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:01 PM EST
    So the gist is that the girl was found with a lot of drugs in her luggage, the prosecution presented a "if it was there, she had to know it was there" argument, and she faces life in prison despite her denials? With the distinction between Indonesia and many U.S. jurisdictions being that the case is being heard by multiple disinterested judges (as opposed to a single, interested judge, and possibly a jury)? I'm not actually trying to compare Singaporean justice to U.S. justice. But there are people in prison in the U.S., facing long sentences and even life terms on the basis of comparable evidence.

    rebmarks, Blaghdaddy agrees with you...after a solid night's sleep, Blaghdaddy read over what he'd commented on and concluded he was becoming a little too much like the other side for comfort...one mustn't harden one's heart if one is to remain human. Additionally, the new information, while read and acknowledged, did not immediately sink in, as Blaghdaddy had been hearing much bleating about the girl but not too much in the way of facts a month ago. His first reaction to the additional news was, "Yeah, yeah, whatever." In light of the actual situation, (this girl isn't about to be caned for spray-painting cars), it behooves the international community to pressure the Balinese government to re-examine the case. As for your remark, rebmarks, you obviously don't know Blaghdaddy if you tell him to hope he's never accused of wrongdoing when he's innocent. Find Blaghdaddy ONE visible minority who hasn't experienced that and you'll find a liar...been there...done that...how do you think Blaghdaddy got so bitter? As for Australians, Blaghdaddy advises them to stay the hell out of Bali...didn't they get the hint in the bombing a couple years back?

    Re: Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby (none / 0) (#17)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:01 PM EST
    Blaghdaddy, The sign of a progressive brain is that it changes and grows. You have seen the light. Our friends, the Indonesians. Massacred 200,000 East Timorese who wanted to determine their own future. Sanctioned by the US government. There should be a call for an international boycott(IMHO a complete economic boycott) of travel to Indonesia and it's surrounding islands until this woman is released. Then maybe the Indonesian judges will put down their books long enough to realize what their carelessness has done to their economy.

    Blaghdaddy said long, long ago, seeing the idiots like O'Reilly and Coulter etc. trying to justify discredited postions, that he would always 'fess up and admit if he'd said something wrong (or unwise), and he stands by his word. That's why Blaghdaddy has little patience for "One-note trumpeters" who can only repeat their talking points and think that raising their voices makes them "more right." If you can't admit when you're wrong, you don't belong in a debate...yeah? Anyways, Blaghdaddy is basking in the warm glow of the LeftFold...the prodigal dolt is welcomed back... :-) P.S. TL, don't ever think you don't make a difference...the change in Blaghdaddy's site from beginning (when he quite before you even looked at it lol) is directly attributable to YOU...keep up the great work!!! Blagh

    Blaghdaddy, are you suggesting we put the Balinese out of business? The economic impact of Australians staying out of Bali, which is heavily reliant on tourism (much of which comes from Australia) is almost unimaginable. And MCFab asks who took her photo? Well, that's what the girl looks like. Here in Australia, Schapelle Corby's photo appears in the press virtually daily, and has for months. She is indeed a pretty girl, as everyone is at pains to point out. And no doubt she's getting a lot of attention because she's pretty. But, as Rea says, that isn't any reason to believe she's guilty, either. Many issues other than the obvious Midnight Express-esque aspects of this situation preoccupy us over here; Australia has a long, complex and somewhat vexed relationship with its near neighbour, Indonesia, and this case stirs all sorts of memories and emotions up to some degree or another. And as Rebmarks pointed out, there's outrage when the Bali Bomber's sentence is compared to what Schapelle is likely to receive. And she's already spent something like 8 months in prison. You may consider this outrage misplaced, but I don't think it comes as any surprise that people are better able to empathise with people with whom they identiy. That might make people parochial, but not necessarily racist or xenophobic.

    Blaghdadday, I'm impressed. Not too many people will acknowledge a change of heart. Thanks, and your blog looks great with the new design.

    And thank you, TL...Blaghdaddy decided to stop worrying about what people might think of his site and just do it...and the confessions are flying fast and furious tonight... So where is everyone tonight...they've got better things to do than TalkLeft? As if...

    *happy sigh* Today, TL and Blaghdaddy, tomorrow Paul in LA and Just Paul - after that, possibly the world. Going to the Mass. Dem. Convention tomorrow. MIGHT even get a few seconds "face time" with Howard Dean. Perhaps I'll pitch celebrity sponsors for pretty girls in foreign prisons as an icebreaker for a second group Rich self interested people for indigent non-white innocents abroad. Wish me luck.....it will be nice to spend a day preaching to the choir.

    mfox, you better TAKE THAT BACK!! Blaghdaddy's not one of the "converted," Blaghdaddy started the choir...and he feels muy resentful that one moment of snarky crankiness has branded him for life as unfeeling...DAMN YOU ALL!!!! Seriously, Blagh was very cynical of this chick at the beginning, and he thought "muscled blow" or is that Russel Crow was pulling a Mel Gibson "Prostitution of the Christ" with this mission... But TL's right...she AIN'T no runaway bride (and is Blagh the only one who'd shoot her on sight if he had the chance, just for him having to hear about her for two bloody weeks?) and something smells, even IF she's white...God, Blaghdaddy loves himself... So there, Blahg's position aligns with TL's, as it does nearly 90% of the time (Bill O'Reilly poll) and he's off to bed. PPJ, justpaul, mfox, BB, TL, Heretik, Roy, Ed...everyone else, good night and God Bless... Blaghdaddy out...

    There are several things about this case that I donít understand. How could she not notice nine addition pounds of weight, in a bodyboard case that probably didnít weight nine pounds to begin with? And the way it was packed, the balance point would have shifted from the middle of the board, to the very front of the board. Why doesnít she replace her lawyers? Apparently, it is the lawyers fault that her defense doesnít have the airport videos. The airport says that they informed the lawyers that the videos were going to be purged, but the airport never heard from the lawyers. The lawyers claim they sent the airport an e-mail. An e-mail? With their clients life at stake? And why havenít the lawyers ask for a DNA test on the black tape that sealed the inner bag? The bags may have been contaminated with fingerprints, like the authorities claim. But the authorities slit the bottom of the inner bag, to inspect the contents. The tape was still on the bag, apparently untouched, during the trial. So why no DNA test? Iím not at all sure that Schappelle Corby is innocent. And Iím not convinced that she is guilty. But I am convinced that she needs better lawyers.

    Not to be flippant and please forgive me, but: If she had been alive in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692, she would have weighed less than a duck and hung with no benefit of a lawyer. All because they had eaten rye bread with ergot ground in with the flour, 'witches' were tried without the benefit of legal counsel and hung. Just your average New England puritanical, religious madness. The pot calling the kettle black. We were no better. I do hope she receives the benefit of a fair trial.

    drronchee, There is no excuse for the Salem witch trials, but in the same era, an estimated 10,000,000 people were executed in Europe, for the same crime. Which do you prefer? Still, I agree with your point that trials and justice donít go hand-in-hand. And, I echo your comment about a fair trial.

    Re: Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby (none / 0) (#27)
    by Che's Lounge on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:03 PM EST
    Sailor, How interesting that her case weighed 4 kilo's less when she checked it at her point of origin. The dope was put in after she checked it. The next time she saw her luggage was when she picked it up in Bali, 4 kilo's heavier. She was taken into custody on arrival. This is a smuggling operation using an uninformed mule, pure and simple. Too bad the Indonesians are too stupid to actually pursue the truth. And our government gives aid to these poisonous morons. Boycott Indonesian products sold in the US.

    Re: Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby (none / 0) (#28)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:04 PM EST
    I'm still trying to figure out who smuggles pot INTO Bali. And from Australia? Something seems ass backwards about that, but I may be wrong, wouldn't be the first time.

    Che, I wish those were the facts in the case, but based on the Save A Life site, the bags were never weighted separately. Additionally, the weight records are no longer available. And she picked up her bags at a baggage claim carousel and carried them over to the inspection counter, where she stood in line. Just like we all do whenever we travel through customs. In some of the stories, it was her brother who was carrying the boogie board. But he was 17 and should also have noticed the weight gain. My 10-year old would have noticed something was wrong if he had picked up a 20 pound boogie board bag. And in the 60 Minutes, Australia interview she admits that she placed the bag on the inspection counter. Additional, it is now being reported that Australian police are suspicious of her story, because of the weight problem and because apparently the dope packed fit snuggly around the boogie board, as if the package was designed for the case. If Iím wrong and you have actually seen the before and after weights Iíd be very interested in that. I have also seen the claim of the 4.1kg difference, but I have always dismissed this, because no one ever has the actual weights and her lawyers claim they donít exist. But then, you already know what I think of her lawyers.

    Dadler, That same Save A Life site, (and remember, this site is pro Schappelle Corby) claims that the better quality Australian product sells for 14 times the price of the locally grown stuff. Iíll leave it to the experts to tell me if thatís true.

    Let Blaghdaddy go and find out...scratch that, they may mistake him for an aboriginal and attempt to hitch him to a plow... This case, unfortunately, has all the earmarks of an ugly outcome...the Balinese are likely dying to show the West that their laws are paramount (sound familiar, neocons?) and this will serve nicely for them to make their point, thank you very much... Perhaps a bit of diplomacy...then again, Western countries only stop kicking around Third World countries when there's something in it for them, so this little girl might have to be the sacrificial lamb...

    The Corby case may damage Bali more than just a reputation for injustice. The 'invisible hand' of the market may achieve more. See this article

    Re: Group Seeks Death Penalty for Schapelle Corby (none / 0) (#33)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:59:05 PM EST
    Does 9 lbs. of vegetation warrant a death sentence? The world needs to let Indonesia know that such savage, middle age justice cannot be tolerated. I say a trade embargo is in order until Indonesia joins the 21st century, and stops murdering people over some plant life.

    It's absolutely true that there is high demand for imported pot in Bali, with tourists and foreign locals prepared to pay big dollars for it. High quality stuff is easier and cheaper to obtain in Australia, so that theory doesn't wash. Schappelle was sentenced today - 20 years is what she got. I don't know if she's innocent or guilty but I can't help but feel sorry for her. I feel sorry for the Balinese too because if all this crap about Boycott Bali actually works they will suffer, and they are definitely innocent of anything in this case. Even Corby's own defence claim the drugs were planted in Australia by Australians.

    I just learned about this case and after reading what reports I could find I think she's guilty. Here are the reasons that lead me to that conclusion: Ford's testimony is not credible as he won't/can't name the people involved in planting the drugs. The one individual he did name said in an interview with an Australian or NZ press report (can't remember which) he said he was in jail at the time Ford claimed he was involved. Without that testimony the defense has little to offer. His list of crimes also bring to question his credibility. I'm more inclined to believe he's in on it trying to protect her than trying to get her off. - The fact that there are baggage handlers involved in smuggling drugs does not mean she's innocent. It's a data point but I don't think that rises above making her case "above a reasonable doubt" of innocence. - I read the drugs were well packed around boogie board, that would take alot of time and if the intent was to merely ship the drugs then catch them on the other end why pack them so well if not to get them through customs? - Customs agent said she was reluctant to open her bag. Why would he fabricate testimony? Pressure from the Indonesian Gov't? Perhaps. I can't discount it but I don't think so. - So, it's time for her to pay for her crime, yes as harsh as it is. I agree the time doesn't fit the crime but when you break the law in a foreign country be prepared to pay their price.

    Only Schappelle will ever know the truth. If she is innocent then it is a dreadful thing. If she is guilty it is still a dreadful thing. 20 years is barbaric as someone else has said 'for a plant'. The Indonesians hate Australians.We remind them of their colonial past.(not Balinese who are a different people)I fear that on appeal she will recieve the death penalty.

    I don't see how boycotting Indonesia is going to help. I don't know about their legal system, but the last time i checked, jurys or any kind aren't allowed to be biased. So how is staying away, going to help? I'm not saying she's guilty, not saying she's innocent. I'm just saying that even though we see and hear many things about her case, it doesn't mean we see and hear everything. Theres alot of evidence for and against her. But i agree with Julie, she will probably be the only one to know the 100% truth. I probably wont be able to make another comment due to my forgetfullness.

    even though schapelle may be guilty how is it fair that indonesia make her an example of...especially after all the help the world has given them [in particualr australia] after the sunami disaster? even if she is guilty how is it fair that someone gets locked away in a jail for twenty years because they snuck some plant leaves into a foreign county....how can she be given such a horrible sentence when they cant even give her a fair trial. i have been reading alot and indonesian law is a load of b.s its medieval and based on an even worse justice system. schapelle was presumed guilty simply for having the drugs unlike in western coutries where you are innocent until proven guilty....in simple terms it sucks. my personal opinion is that she didnt do it an is being treated unfairly even if she did. from the pictures ive seen of the bag in which the weed was it looks very similar to a space bag....and could i jst inform you all that space bags only come in a small range of sizes and shapes. it says the bag was airtight...as are space bags....anyone getting my drift? further more id like to point out that the idiot who bombed bali [althought its not a final penalty] was given only ten years in jail....a man who killed numerous people will be walking free long before schapelle how the hell is that fair??? now australians kept going to bali even after the bombings...continued going to indonesia after the tidal wave and they make an example out of an inocent australian girl? life jst sucks doesnt it