27 May 2009
Schapelle Corby and Depression...
It has been a while since I found time to update on the Schapelle Corby (photo) saga. It is a saga because the media keeps it in the news and people, like me, are still reading about the comings and goings of an Australian languishing in an Indonesian prison.
Corby is coming up to her fourth year in prison. However, it seems pretty clear that prison is taking its toll on her physically and emotionally and mentally. Corby now has a history of depression. She was hospitalized for it last year and has recently been hospitalized again. It is sad in many ways because if she had committed the same crime in Australia she probably would have received a much shorter prison term. Maybe she might not have been jailed at all.
The rumours are that she is struggling and that she is not taking her medication. This only exacerbates the problems she is suffering from. The results are apparently difficulty in sleeping and generally not looking after herself. Apparently, she is also having real difficulty in communicating with others and there is a general inability to answer questions or stay focused for any length of time. It has been reported that she is taking comfort in a doll.
A hospital stay is just what the doctor ordered. However, it is clearly a case that Corby would be better served with a long-term treatment regime in a psychiatric facility where she can be properly monitored and treated. This, though, seems unlikely. Unfortunately, if the authorities do not come to the party and allow Corby to get specialized and proper treatment then this is going to become a vicious circle of periodic hospital treatments for depression.
That said, prison time has never been designed as a holiday. It is tough and as such people handle it in different ways and some people do not handle it well.
On the legal front, Corby has hired a new lawyer. The lawyer, Iskandar Nawing, has been given a mandate of getting Corby out of jail. Nawing has admitted that there is no new evidence in the case so there is no likelihood that the case will be reopened. On this front it would seem that the 16 years that remain, minus any remissions, will be served.
However, Corby has until now rejected all overtures with respect to seeking clemency from the Indonesian president. A clemency request requires Corby to admit guilt. It would be an interesting call to admit guilt at this stage. It seems very unlikely that the president would be receptive to the idea of granting clemency and releasing Corby. Even if one assumes that the incumbent is re-elected it still seems highly unlikely that he would look favourably on a clemency request.
Indonesia has always taken a hard stance on drugs and drug smuggling. To grant Corby clemency after four years of a twenty year sentence just does not seem likely. Nevertheless, the ongoing serious depression she is suffering, the paranoia, and a psychological report that states she is a danger to herself might be a tick in the column for clemency.
When it is all said and done I think there are more ticks in the rejection of clemency column than there are in the clemency column.