In Dicta

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Schapelle Corby case

According to all reports, she was given a (relatively) fair trial, a light sentence (compared to others accused of the same crime) and treated well. In fact, Schapelle Corby's defense consisted of "someone planted those drugs in my luggage." Not very convincing, in my opinion.

The New York Times had this to say:

"SYDNEY, Australia - It would be hard to find an Australian who knows about a woman named Tran Thi Hong Loan, a 33-year old Australian citizen who is serving a life sentence in Vietnam for drug trafficking.

But on this vast continent, it would be harder to come across anyone who does not know about Schapelle Corby, the 27-year-old Australian who was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison by an Indonesian court at the end of May for smuggling nine pounds of marijuana into Bali in her boogie-board bag.

Australians cannot seem to get enough of the Corby story, and it has unleashed a torrent of venom unlike almost anything seen in recent Australian history. There have been calls for a tourist boycott of Bali, long a favorite holiday destination for Australians, and even for an end to aid for tsunami victims.

White powders have been delivered to the Indonesian Embassy in Canberra, and the parliament building in Perth was spray painted with a 90-foot, four-color mural and the words "Free Schapelle," "Invade Indo" and "Bang Bam." Indonesia's president is Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Many Australians are troubled by the reaction to the Corby case, and they blame conservative radio talk-show hosts and the tabloids for it, though the mainstream press has been just as absorbed. Ms. Corby has been portrayed as a damsel in distress, the victim of a corrupt judicial system in a backward nation.

The quick explanation for the country's fixation on the Corby case appears to be that she is young, attractive, stylish, female and white.

"Corby is an all-Australian girl," The Australian said in a recent editorial. "Parents around the country look at her, see a reflection of their own kids, and react accordingly."
(Emphasis added).

So because of this, the entire judicial system of the nation of Indonesia is questioned, when absolutely no evidence was presented at trial that someone other than Ms. Corby placed the drugs in her bag (other than her own denial). This is shameful. Ms. Corby's due process rights were respected. In fact, the Australian government paid for top solicitors for her defense. The time to stop questioning, is over, and it is time to accept this verdict.

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