Corby Family Angered at Lesser Remission for Schapelle
Australian drug-smuggler Schapelle Corby was among prisoners in Bali who received reductions on their jail terms to mark Independence Day on Wednesday, but her family expressed anger that she had received a shorter remit that heroin smuggler Renae Lawrence.
Corby, 34, received a five-month remission on her sentence. She has received several similar cuts to her original 20-year-sentence, which she received for attempting to smuggle 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into Bali in 2004.
Meanwhile, Renae Lawrence, 33, a member of the so-called “Bali Nine” gang who attempted to smuggle 8.3 kilograms of heroin through Bali in 2005, received a remission of six months on her sentence.
Speaking to Australian media after the sentence reductions were announced, Corby’s uncle Shun Hatton expressed anger that Lawrence had received the larger remission.
“It really shows the justice system over there when someone with heroin strapped to their body gets six months and Schapelle only gets five months,” he said.
Lawrence pleaded guilty to drug smuggling during her trial and made a statement of apology for her actions to the court. Corby and her supporters have maintained her innocence throughout, claiming that the 4.2 kilograms of cannabis found inside her bodyboard bag as she arrived at Ngurah Rai International Airport in October 2004.
“If she had pleaded guilty she would have been out by now but she won’t because she is not guilty. If she had pleaded guilty she would have got eight to 10 years,” Hatton said.
Hatton said that he had last seen his niece in June, and that she was suffering mental and physical ailments as a result of her imprisonment, and was suffering side-effects from high doses of antidepressants she is taking.
He said family members were hoping that she would be released on humanitarian grounds.
“There is not much else we can do,” he said.
Corby is awaiting a clemency decision from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono that she filed last year on the grounds she is mentally ill.
Other foreign prisoners who received cuts to the sentences included Umar Rangeswami and Gary Martin Turner, who both received a one-month remit, and Malaysians Teo Gee Huat and Jacky Khor, who had their sentences cut by two months.
The authorities traditionally hand out remissions to prisoners to mark Independence Day on August 17.
Island-wide, a total of 650 prisoners received remissions, with 40 granted outright release.
At Kerobokan, where the foreign drug smugglers are held, 13 inmates were released.
Kerobokan prison chief Siswanto said the remissions were based on good conduct and other factors. He said eight inmates who had worked as helpers for prison staff had received reductions of up to six months on their sentences.
After the announcement of the remissions, Kerobokan inmates took part in a series of contests and performances to celebrate Independence Day.
Anang Khuzaini, head of social guidance and correction at Kerobokan, said the competitions were a way of fostering a sense of community among prisoners, as well as a means to celebrate independence.
“All those who took part in the contests were inmates, both locals and foreigners. The purpose was to enliven and entertain people,” he said, adding that as well as races, inmates worked in teams to clean their cell blocks, with prizes awarded to residents of the cleanest block.
Renae Lawrence took part in the events, telling reporters that “Everything is good.” Corby did not join in and remained in her cell throughout.
Elsewhere in Bali, 64 inmates at the prison in Singaraja received remissions, with three men – Nyoman Suarjana, Komang Agus Hermawan and Gede Sukrada –freed.
The remission ceremony was attended by various officials, including Buleleng Regent Bagiada.
Speaking on the side-lines of the ceremony, Singaraja prison chief Wayan Darta Rianta said the remissions had done little to ease overcrowding. The prison was designed to house 78 inmates, he said, but currently holds a total of 164 people.
At Negara Prison in Jembrana 50 prisoners received remissions, with eight gaining immediate release. In a speech to the lucky prisoners Jembrana Regent I Putu Artha urged them to improve their lives and avoid future involvement in crime.
“This has been an ordeal, and it makes you all brothers here. So let’s all go forward together to make things better for our families, society and this country,” he said.Filed under: Headlines