Australia TV to Air Paid Interview with Inmate on Schapelle Corby

Jailhouse snitches are notoriously unreliable. In this country, they are a major contributor to wrongful convictions.

That isn't stopping 10 News in Australia. It's about to air a paid interview with Bali 9 inmate Renae Lawrence, doing 20 years (after narrowly avoiding the death penalty) for smuggling heroin into Bali with 8 other people. She had 2.5 kilos strapped to her body. Two of the nine are waiting for the executioner, and six are doing life.

Reportedly, Renae will claim that during a period when she and Schapelle shared a cell (with several other women), Schapelle confessed to her that she knew the drugs were in her boogie-bag. I don't buy that for a second. [More....]

Lawrence has had a bad year. She was transferred from Hotel Kerobokan to the hinterlands after getting caught with a knife in her bed and texts on her phone showing she and another inmate were planning to kill a guard. The prison director said the other inmates were glad she was gone because she would extort money from them. While the station says the money is going to Lawrence's p.r. firm, I think it's very unlikely they won't be giving a chunk to Lawrence. She's smart enough to know that if her interview is boring without new details, it will probably be her last.

In other Kerobokan news, an Australian inmate, now released, is about to have his his book published on his experience there. Not only is the place a physical hellhole, but he says the place is filled with corrupt cops (as many have mentioned before.)

I Survived Kerobokan, by Australian resident Paul Conibeer, describes a jail where some guards were willing to turn a blind eye to illegal activity as long as they were paid off.

...'Kerobokan is one of the only jails in the world where the prisoners are in control,'

... He shared a 33-man cell with 51 other men for 10 months before returning to Australia.

...'There were drugs all through the prison,'' he says. ''People were tripping out on LSD or magic mushrooms and smoking weed until they were stoned blind.''

...In his worst moments, Conibeer says he nursed a dying man and faced the threat of being put in a cell with no toilet where you have to ''crap into a plastic bag''. He writes about eating snake stew after one slithered into his cell. He describes his toenails rotting and falling off one by one.

Conibeer only did 9 months. He's a car salesman that was on holiday there (a frequent trip for him) and got into a dispute over an unpaid hotel bill and ended up in Hotel Kerobokan, with murderers, rapists and pedophiles.

He confirms what many others have reported: If you are rich and can pay off the guards, you can get everything from pizzas to cell phones to plasma TVs and access to the internet. If you're poor, you get nothing.

Last week, I got an email from a young woman in Jakarta who was very upset with me for writing this post. She wrote, in all seriousness:

Thousands of young people died because of drugs. Give death penalty to drugs traffickers is the RIGHT decision. You wrote : "Indonesia does not deserve your tourist dollars. Many Indonesians support their barbaric laws." Indonesian people is NOT barbar people, and Indonesia is NOT barbar nation. Stop insulting my country, as if my country could only exist because of the arrival of tourist to Bali. Let me remind you that the economic growth of my country is higher than your country. All drugs traffickers who came to Indonesia knew that trafficking drugs in Indonesia is punishable by death. And this is very clear. I as young generation of Indonesia very angry at what you wrote in your article.

I don't know anything about Indonesia's economy, but if it's doing so well it doesn't need tourist dollars, then I don't see why she objects to my calling for a boycott of Bali and Indonesia and reminding people there are beautiful beaches all over the world, there's no reason to give our hard-earned money to a country that kills drug-traffickers and locks even minor drug offenders up in a hellhole of a prison with rats, snakes, and crooked guards, in cells ranging from 6 to 50 people, many of whom are among the most violent offenders.

Schapelle Corby spent 10 years there, for 4 kilos of pot she claimed were not hers. She suffered numerous mental breakdowns. She will never be the same as she was before entering Bali's prison. They basically killed the Schapelle that went in as a 28 year old woman.

If the young woman who emailed me thinks I am going to change my mind, she's wrong. One more time:

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    Another amazing post. (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by lentinel on Mon Apr 07, 2014 at 07:46:46 AM EST
    A shocking narrative.
    I would not have known about Kerobokan. And I certainly would not have known about the craven grubby practices of Australian television.

    Jeralyn's blog reminds of I.F. Stone's weekly.

    Not many will know what I am referencing, but his was an independent weekly - published by himself which provided information that was alarming, truthful and without agenda.

    He did his own research - often based on scouring magazines and publications that were publicly available, but that the media tended to ignore.

    Bravo Jeralyn!