Schapelle Corby made it tough for Indonesians to forgive Bali Nine duo Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran

By @pathakmishra on
Schapelle Corby
Convicted Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby is released from Kerobokan Prison in Denpasar, Bali, February 10, 2014. Indonesia released Corby on parole on Monday, the Australian woman who was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2005 for trying to smuggle 4 kg (8.8 lb) of marijuana into Bali. Reuters/Murdani Usman

According to the Indonesian authorities, the unconstructive attitude of Schapelle Corby towards Indonesia has made it quite tough for the people over there to show any sympathy for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. The focus on Corby made it even more difficult for the Indonesians to forget and forgive what the two convicts from Australia did.

The former chief justice of the constitutional court of Indonesia, Jimly Asshiddiqie, specified that the push for execution of Chan and Sukumaran came from the President Joko Widodo personally.

Chan and Sukumaran belonged to the Bali nine group of Australia and were caught in 2005 while attempting to smuggle drugs from Indonesia to Australia.  According to reports, the duo was not new in this business but were accused of at least three drug smuggling attempts earlier in 2005. Schapelle Corby , a then-27-year-old woman from Queensland, was found guilty of smuggling drugs into Indonesia. However, since her arrest, she maintained that the drugs were planted in her bag and she was unaware of its presence.

Though she was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment by the Denpasar District Court, Corby spent only nine years in jail and petitioned the clemency on the grounds of mental illness to Sushilo Bambang, the then-President of Indonesia. Her parole condition specified that she cannot leave the country before July 2017.

Asshiddiqie, the key player in the anti-death penalty issue for the case, also confirmed to Fairfax Media that Jusuf Kalla, vice president of Indonesia, belonged to the group that stood against the execution of the two from Bali nine group. Asshiddiqie, however, believed that the clemency granted to Corby in 2012 was among one of the negative steps in the campaign.

Mercedes, after release of her sister Corby on parole in February 2015, attended an exclusive interview with Seven Network where she said that the drugs found in the boogie board bag “could have been from Indonesia.” The statement spread anger among the Indonesian public as she seemed to blame others instead of accepting her sister’s misdeeds.

Also, a poll about clemency for Sukumaran and Chan was conducted by Roy Morgan Research for Triple J, youth radio station. Mr Joko seized the poll and concluded that “the majority of the people in Australia don’t care about the executions -- only the minority gets angry with Indonesia.”

“So they think this is only about Abbott’s politics, not Australia as a whole … the [Indonesian] government thinks this is not hurting the people of Australia, it’s only elites, who claim to be popular by misusing public anger.” Asshiddiqie said.

Asshiddiqie said to Sydney Morning Herald, “[Former President] SBY [Sushilo Bambang Yudhoyono] once gave clemency to Corby, and ... she still spoke very badly about Indonesia. She never showed her thanks, or expressed any thanks to Indonesia.” According to him, this has created a very bad impression of her among the Indonesian public.

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