Drug case sends Australia into uproar
What? Be happy with 20 years. We could
have hung your ass.
Corby case strains Indonesia-Australia ties, FM warns against backlash
Fri May 27, 4:30 AM ET
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's leaders have warned retaliation against Indonesians over Schapelle Corby's conviction for drug smuggling would not be tolerated, as experts predict the case will test recently-improved ties between Canberra and Jakarta.
There was public outrage in Australia at the 27-year-old beauty therapist's conviction and 20-year jail sentence for smuggling 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana into the resort island of Bali last October on a flight from Brisbane.
Australian television networks broadcast the court's judgement live, focussing on the weeping face of Corby who, opinion polls show, is believed to be innocent by more than 90 percent of Australians.
Police heightened security around Indonesian diplomatic mission in Australia ahead of the verdict.
After the judgement was announced, Greens senator Bob Brown organised a protest outside the Indonesian embassy in Canberra and talkback radio lines were clogged with callers saying they would boycott Indonesian products and no longer holiday in Bali.
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said public concern about the conviction should not spill over into attacks on Indonesians because a backlash would be counterproductive.
"Indonesian staff should not be threatened, Indonesian government officials should not be abused or threatened," he told reporters. "To do that type of thing is entirely counter-productive.
"There is a long way to go in this case and overreactions of one kind or another is not going to help at all."
Downer said the Australian government would offer Corby's defence team the use of two senior lawyers who specialise in Asian law to assist in her appeal.
It will consider requests for cash to pay for the appeal.
Also, Australian officials would meet their Indonesian counterparts on June 6 to negotiate a prisoner transfer agreement that would allow Corby to serve her sentence in her homeland.
Downer said he had sympathy for Corby but he was relieved she had not been sentenced to death.
She claimed that someone put it in her bag, yet was nervous when she got searched. Right. More likely she was used as a mule by a boyfriend instead.
Western governments demanded South East Asian countries pass and enforce these laws after the Vietnam War to prevent the spread of drugs and smuggling. Yet, they only expected the laws to be enforced on Asians and go batshit when Westerners are facing these draconian laws.
Well did they think that these laws were never going to be used on Westerners? Of course Aussies believe she was framed or some such thing. Because they simply don't believe Indonesian law should apply to them any more than Americans believe Mexican law should apply to them.
The problem for Indonesia is that it is caught between two things: Western government demand for strict anti-drug policy and the rather relaxed attitude Westerners actually have towards drugs. And the Indonesians, being poor, need the funds to "fight" drugs and the tourist money. Schapelle Corby is caught between the two and may well pay for this with her life. The Indonesian government is appealing, as is their right, and may seek the death penalty.
Of course, there haven't been any wire service articles about how the Indonesians feel when their citizens are caught in Australia breaking the law.
Now, Canberra has to, after years of anti-immigrant sentiment, make a special case for Corby, when Indonesians in Australia have had no such help. Think some resentment might follow? I wonder how seriously Australians would take this if the situation was reversed.
posted by Steve @ 9:14:00 AM