11 January 2011
Schapelle Corby and 12,000 Indonesians?
VIVAnews is reporting that the Australian Attorney General has made an offer to the Indonesian Attorney General that is essence goes along these lines:
"There are 12,000 Indonesians in Australian prisons with an average sentence of five years, we will trade those 12,000 for Schapelle Corby". At least this is the understanding of Babul Khoir Harahap, the Head of the Information Center at the Office of the Attorney General in Jakarta.
According to Harahap, the Attorney General of Indonesia has agreed. The matter has now been sent to the Minister for Law and Human Rights, Patrialis Akbar, for approval. My guess is that with a clemency appeal pending that this will also cross the desk of the President, SBY.
This offer apparently was provided by Roger Wilkis of the Attorney General's Department in Australia to the Attorney General of Indonesia, Basrief Arief. Australia's Ambassador, Greg Moriarty was also in attendance at this meeting of the minds.
Corby has received 17 months worth of remissions to date and this program of remissions is likely to accelerate as she serves more of her sentence. Nevertheless, the prospect of a "swap agreement" and immediate freedom must be a positive development for Corby in her current fragile mental state.
Then again, this story could be a beat-up or a complete misrepresentation of the discussions held and any offer made. It seems outrageous that the Australian government is going to swap 12,000 Indonesians convicted of crimes in Australia for one Australian convicted of a drug-possession crime in Indonesia. This must surely weaken Australia's bargaining position for other Australian prisoners doing time in Indonesian jails. What is Australia going to offer up for the release of members of the Bali Nine or more importantly to get those Bali Nine members on death row, off of death row?
I am not against the idea, in principle of a swap, but there needs to be a whole lot more information on what the swap entails. The response from the Australian public is not necessarily going to be favourable. There are plenty of Australians who think that Schapelle Corby has done enough time for the crime she was convicted of. However, they might not be so certain that she is worth 12,000 Indonesians in order to secure that early freedom.
This is certainly an interesting development if it pans out to be true.