Schapelle Corby was a 24-year old Australian beauty school graduate who was visiting a friend in Japan in 2005. On her way back to Australia, she decided to stop over in Bali to visit her married sister in Indonesia. At the airport in Indonesia, custom officers found 4.2 lb. of cannabis in a bag holding her body board (for surfing). She is immediately detained and arrested by Indonesian agents and held in a prison. Her assigned Indonesian attorney is only give 1 day to prepare for her trial. She is found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in an Indonesian jail. Is she guilty or innocent?
The facts of the case seemed sketchy. Corby claimed that she had never looked inside the body board bag the entire trip (thus hinting at the obvious, that she never used the body board). But, Indonesian customs said that as they asked her what was in her bag, they say she tried to hinder the process. They say she made a movement towards her bag in an effort to stop customs from looking inside. Corby said no such thing happened. She said that she was not trying to detain them, but simply did not understand the agent's questions.
Corby's premise had been that baggage handlers at Australia's airport hid the cannabis inside her bag in order to remove it at a later date. While there have been several cases of baggage handlers smuggling drugs in traveler's luggage (without their knowledge or consent), there was no clear evidence that showed that this was the case. The airline at Australia weighed all 4 pieces of Corby's luggage before she left for Japan and it was registered at 65 kg. Corby asked for Indonesian officials to weigh all of her luggage. The request was denied.
After the trial, Corby's Indonesian attorney apologetically explained to Corby that his efforts to free her were being met with red tape on the side of her own Australian government. Why would her own government be part of a massive cover-up? For one, if Corby was found not guilty, that would indicate that Australian government officials were lax about drug smuggling by airline employees at its own airports. Diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Australia would then be strained. The economic consequences would be disastrous for Australia.
There has been people who have come forward to say that they are drug smugglers and were friends of Corby or her family members before the incident. However, none of them said that she or her family members were ever involved with drug smuggling. In addition, although her book My Story sold for over 100,000 copies in 2006, Australian government officials blocked efforts by her family to use the money to help fund her legal defense. They enacted a law that stated convicted criminals could not benefit financially from the sale of their stories.
In 2012, 5 years was taken off of her 20 year sentence, making her date of release 2020. However, Corby's mental condition is fast deteriorating. She is exhibiting signs of psychosis and is under a psychiatrist's care. In 2008, her father passed away from bowel cancer in Australia. Even though she knows he is dead, she talks to him as if he was still alive and in the prison with her. Her mental state is not good and her psychiatrist said that if she is not released soon, he fears that she may take her life.
Prison conditions in the Indonesian jail are horrible and unsanitary. There are no individual cells and conditions are sub-par and Third World. She is not allowed to exercise as female prisoners are not granted that right. And she is constantly verbally harassed and abused by other female inmates. She has also been threatened with physical assault.
For more in-depth information about her story, please visit: The Expendable Project or www.expendable.tv