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Schapelle Sentence Resparks Boycott Bali Calls

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Saturday, May 28, 2005
Australian beauty student Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years in jail this week after Indonesian judges found her guilty of smuggling 4kg of pot into Bali.

The tragic beauty 27 year old beauty student broke down in tears as the judge told her she was guilty though bravely mouthed across the court to her mother "Mum it's OK" on being told her penalty. Outside the court Glen Jeffers, a family friend, pleaded with the president to intervene, declaring "We'll continue to fight until an innocent girl is set free to live and enjoy her life."

"President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, when Indonesia was struck by the tsunami, Australia gave aid. Australia and Indonesia have become good friends," Mr Jeffers said, reading from a statement. "For a friendship to grow there must be giving from both friends. Mr President, we have seen enough innocent lives wasted in the past year. Please sir, let's not waste another innocent life." (Telegraph)

Before the sentencing Chief Prosecutor Wiswantanu accused Schapelle of "ruining the image of Bali as a tourist destination and creating the image that Bali is a haven for narcotics distribution' ( though phone callers to Brisbane radio station 973FM saw it differently afterwards, hailing Schapelle as an innocent victim.

"Certainly never go to Bali again - I certainly won't and I'll be encouraging my friends and family not to," one caller declared, while another swore "I will never, ever travel to Bali again in fear that this could even happen to me or any of my family." (AP)

As well as applying barbaric penalties for drug use, Indonesia has recently introduced prison sentences for gay sex, casual sex, cohabitation, and "men who refuse to marry women they make pregnant' (The Guardian, 2004) and even proposed 5 year sentences for provocative dancing last year. Public snogging and topless sunbathing were also both singled out for criminalization with sex party revelers risking 10 year prison terms.

"I think there must be some restrictions on such acts because it is against our traditions of decency, top local law official Mrs Aisyah Hamid Baidlowi told the Singapore Straits Times "because this is a predominantly Muslim country".