SOUTH-WEST Aboriginal identity Len Clarke has written to Prime Minister Julia Gillard urging her to make a fresh approach to Indonesia to send convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby home from the Balinese prison where she has been languishing for six years. Original Article by Ken Collins
He is also prepared to write to the Indonesian Government pleading for clemency.
Mr Clarke, who heads the Framlingham – based Kikkabush Aboriginal Community, wrote to former Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono after the Australian woman’s arrest in October 2004, believing she has been treated unfairly.
“I would have been one of the first Australian citizens to write to Indonesia on the Corby case,” Mr Clarke told The Standard yesterday.
“My letter then was referred to the Australian embassy and I was told she would be dealt with by Indonesian law.
“Now I believe it is time again for the community to join a campaign to press for her release from the Bali prison.
“Reports show she is not well and I have a gut feeling she could die within six months if nothing is done for her.
“I feel she has been hard done-by.
“Give her a fair go and bring her back home to Australia.”
Mr Clarke said many people in the Aboriginal community were concerned about Ms Corby and how she had been treated.
In his letter to Ms Gillard he said “we wish you to note our ongoing support for Ms Corby”.
When The Standard contacted the prime minster’s office yesterday it was told the matter was being handled by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
A spokesman for the department said the government would support any application for clemency, but “the decision on whether to grant clemency or not is for the President of Indonesia”.
“For the Government to be able to do anything about bringing Schapelle Corby back to Australia, we first need to have a prisoner transfer treaty with Indonesia that would allow her to seek permission to serve out her sentence in Australia,” the department said.
“Concluding such a treaty with Indonesia is a priority for the government, and we are working toward that end with the Indonesian authorities.
But, unlike Australia, which has prisoner transfer treaties with a number of countries, Indonesia has none.
“In the meantime, we will continue to do what we can, working with Schapelle Corby’s family and the prison authorities in Indonesia, to protect her health and welfare.”
However Pauline Hanson, a criminal herself spoke up against Schapelle Corby and believes the Australian taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill for the former beauty student, now 32.
”The fact is, she was convicted on drug charges in Bali and that’s where she must do her time,” Ms Hanson told Woman’s Day. ”That’s unless, of course, our government is prepared to seek an exchange program with other countries.
”Our jails, especially in Queensland from my experience, are far too soft for convicted murderers, rapists, drug traffickers, pedophiles and now our ever increasing numbers of people smugglers.”
Nice to see Hanson well and truly sitting on the fence …. not! With all this publicity from the ex fish and chip shop owner one must ask the question if she needs more money to buy more batter or she’s about to launch a book!
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