Schapelle Rots in Bali Jail While Islamic Terrorists Go Free

It's been a while since we checked in with Schapelle Corby who is doing 20 years in a hellhole of an Indonesian prison.

Schapelle describes her conditions in a new book to be published in two weeks. Australia's Women's Weekly pubished an excerpt today. The article is not online, but quotes from it appear in the news.

I've seen horrors in here that are sickening beyond belief," she said.

"Prisoners bashed to a pulp, girls attacking each other with broken glass bottles. "I've seen people trying to kill themselves, a woman miscarrying in my cell, prisoners having sex, female guards passionately kissing female prisoners.

"I haven't lived a totally sheltered life, but nothing could have prepared me for this."

What was Schapelle's crime? She was convicted of bringing 4 kilos of pot into Bali from Australia in her boogie board. Despite strong evidence the pot was planted, probably by a ring of airline baggage handlers, she was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in a hellhole of a Bali prison, the same prison that houses Islamic terrorists.

While Schapelle's appeals have been denied at every turn, what happened to the Islamic terrorists? Two of them were just released.

TWO Islamic militants jailed for their roles in the 2002 Bali bombings were freed by Indonesia today to mark an Islamic holiday.

...Sirojul Munir, serving a five-year term in the East Kalimantan capital of Balikpapan for harbouring key bomber Ali Imron, received a one-month reduction in his sentence. A second, unidentified, militant also walked free from Kerobokan prison in Bali.

Justice in Bali? Boycott Bali. Free Schapelle.

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    Schapelle (none / 0) (#1)
    by Thomas on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 01:09:28 PM EST
    A few things to consider before accepting on blind faith that the beauty queen is a victim:

    Many veteran correspondents over here who have been working that story from the very beginning - particularly the Australians - are quite convinced that she is guilty.

    She seemed to be doing the bidding of her no-account brother, who was foolish enough to think that selling pot to surfers in Bali was a good business idea. The mind reels. How much money can you make doing that, really? Viewed through a clear cost-benefit lens, it is about as stupid as you could ever be.

    This was not some big mafia operation, using a poor dupe as a shill; it was four measly kilos. If any baggage handlers even were involved, they would have been working directly in concert with whomever was going to have access to that boogie board. Who might that have been, exactly?

    Everyone knows the consequences for smuggling illegal drugs into southeast Asian countries, especially Indonesia. Everyone has some inkling of what the prisons may be like. As bad as it is, nobody can say they were not warned.

    As much as foreigners love to indulge in all that southeast Asia has to offer, we must still obey the laws - as we must in every country in the world. It is just common sense.

    Yet, still there have been a number of Australians (and others) who were foolish enough to try smuggling drugs around here, and now they're paying for it. You play the game, you follow the rules.

    One important point about all the pleas for clemency, or for the preferential treatment of letting her serve her sentence back in Australia, is that it would quite simply flout the entire idea of a system of legal jurisprudence. Western nations like Australia are constantly hectoring Asian countries to develop and honour functioning legal systems. Like it or don't, that is exactly what the Indonesians did in this case.

    The investigations were done, the court process went forward, and she was convicted on the preponderance of the evidence. Just because they did not throw out the evidence in favour of some unsubstantiated rumours floating around in Australia about some dark conspiracy, they are now being flayed by the people who want poor Schapelle to be treated in a manner differently than anyone else. Why should she be treated any diferently?

    Because she is white? A-ha!

    A key unassailable fact is that no court of law in any nation in the world would ever base its ruling on unsubstantiated rumours from another country. Every proper court procedure would stick only  to the evidence at hand.

    Imagine if an Indonesian were caught in the Melbourne airport with four kilos in his luggage, and he said, "Gee, that must've been planted by some baggage handlers in Denpasar, or maybe in Jakarta, or perhaps it occured somewhere in Sulawesi..."

    He'd be convicted straight away. And who would cry for him? In fact, his story would be much more believable, as there is much more money to be made from smuggling drugs into developed nations, than the other way around.

    Hard as it is for many to accept, the legal system did function properly in this case. And that is exactly what the paternalist West is always preaching to Third World nations (while ignoring their own hideously flawed legal systems closer to home).

    As for the early release of the minor figures in the bombing case, they received sentence reductions of 45 days. Perhaps you could argue that it is unfair that Schapelle did not receive the same 45-day reduction, but, that wouldn't cut much out of her sentence, would it now? The point is moot.

    By the way, the prisoners convicted of the actual bombings have received death sentences.

    Finally, the ink wasn't even dry on her conviction yet when the kinfolk back home suddenly found themselves dry-eyed and quite clear-eyed enough to begin vigorously shopping the family's story around to the highest bidders among the Aussie media.

    Funny that.


    The other side of the story (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 01:15:38 PM EST
    I urge readers to review all TalkLeft's coverage of the case, accessible here, before accepting Thomas' views. I think it's pretty clear she was set up.

    However, whether guilty or innocent, for a country to lock someone up for 20 years for 4 kilos of pot is unacceptable.


    Schapelle (none / 0) (#3)
    by Thomas on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 02:19:52 PM EST
    Sincere apologies for monopolising this thread from the outset.

    As a long-time admirer of Jeralyn's work, I feel compelled to challenge this statement: "Despite strong evidence the pot was planted, probably by a ring of airline baggage handlers.."

    What exactly is this "strong evidence," that something was "probably" done?

    Nobody I know has seen it, but it sure would be interesting to take a real close look at - if such evidence does exist.

    Barring that, it seems to many people around here that the real question in the case is: was she unwittingly used by her brother, or did she willfully allow him to use her luggage?

    Not that it would matter in any court of law, but it might be important to know, as far as getting to the truth of the matter.

    Schapelle (none / 0) (#4)
    by Thomas on Wed Oct 25, 2006 at 03:07:36 PM EST
    Jeralyn: I didn't see this one from you before posting a second time: "However, whether guilty or innocent, for a country to lock someone up for 20 years for 4 kilos of pot is unacceptable."

    I agree with you completely on that.

    It is wholly unacceptable for people to be rotting in US prisons for 20 years for merely possessing infinitesimal fractions of a kilo - and that's just for possession, not smuggling - and so, does that mean we should "boycott the USA?"

    I wouldn't have a problem with that. Start up the campaign!

    I know of people who rotted in US prisons after having been grabbed by DEA agents for passing a joint or a tab of acid at Grateful Dead concerts. Talk about wrong, and unacceptable.

    But, is this an issue of law, or of whether the law is right or wrong?

    They seem to be two very different issues.

    There are innumerable laws which I believe to be wrong, but that won't get me too far if brought up on charges before a judge. As much as I'd love to see it, I'm not sure I know of any precedents where a lawyer successfully argued that her client should get off just because the law is unfair.

    I am not a phony moralist, and in fact might've found myself doing some long, hard time if caught out on some of my own transgressions. My only point is that if the law exists, no matter how bad it is, you accept the risk when you willfully violate it.

    And a southeast Asian prison is a real big risk. Nothing you can say will change that fact.

    The saddest fact is that the only reason that cannabis is illegal in most countries, in the first place, is because the US government went around the world bullying those countries into making it so. We must consider the source on that score. Imagine what has gone on in the minds of indigenous peasants in Latin America, who were literally forced to produce coffee - a stimulant that grows on bushes - but are punished for producing coca, which is simply a stimulant that grows on bushes; and both of them are highly coveted by the US consumer.

    As they say down there: "who can ever understand the gringos?"

    Okay, I'll relinquish the thread now, finally.

    In good faith, Thomas

    Islamic Terrorists (none / 0) (#5)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Oct 26, 2006 at 06:53:11 AM EST
    There are Islamic terrorists in the world?  Take note, it will be brought up again.

    It's called consequences and where they arrive (none / 0) (#6)
    by Rothay on Mon Jun 23, 2008 at 01:43:12 PM EST
    While the plight of those in these horrific jails in Southeast Asia can only evoke sadness,shock, and sympathy to a degree, it should come as no surprise to anyone that there ARE consequences for one's actions and most especially where drugs are concerned. It matters not whether it is one lb or one ounce of whatever, smuggling drugs carries a high price. As Jeralyn comments, "What recompense is there in smuggling drugs into a poor and undeveloped country," selling drugs to surfers in Bali! Far more profitable doing it in the other direction. And severe consequences there, too. These people knew in advance what they were doing. Others doing likewise, Australians, Britons, for example, have ended up executed. I wondered if they ever checked out the laws of the countries they were visiting. To protest the harshness of the Southeast Asia legal process is in the same category as protesting the Saudi practice of cutting of the hands of thieves. That is THEIR penalty according to THEIR laws. Crying in your tea cup about unusual and unjust punishment doesn't work in these countries. Their penalties are their prerogative. If you don't want to do the time, and in horrific jails, don't do the crime. If you want to keep your life, don't put it on the line. Other countries and particularly in Asia take a dim view of drug smuggling. They handle things differently.

    This reminds me of Britain and Russia, a cup final in Moscow, and the Yobs, hooligans, and drunks that are a real horror story in Britain. Recently, Scottish Ranger fans went on rampage in Manchester, England, after they lost a soccer game. They attacked the police, vomited in the streets, beat up strangers. Now came the soccer final in Moscow. Russian authorities who had the experience of being in Manchester and seeing the mayhem sent a warning to British officials. They declared, "We are going to show you how to handle your hooligans and drunks." They did. No one put a foot wrong. Of course their threat was helped along by a British newspaper printing the details of what awaited any such hooligans in a horrific jail outside Moscow. No one could plead there that they didn't know what to expect - the consequences of their actions and handled in a different fashion from the British system. Why are people wailing and gnashing their teeth with regard to the prisons these unfortunates find themselves in? I read the details, the ages when arrested, the sentences, from here to Doomsday, and I am saddened. But I don't have any desire to activate on their behalf. They knew what they were doing. They chose.