Saturday, February 19, 2011

Schapelle Corby & Inexplicable Indonesian Failures That Hurt The Investment Climate

Click on the picture to enlarge & read.

Dear Greg and Kevin (cc The Australia-Indonesia Business Council, AIBC),

As the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia, and the Australian Foreign Minister, I'm just wondering if you can answer a key question that's puzzling me, and many other Australians? It's important, because Ross Taylor of the AIBC said (The Australian, 19 Feb 2011), that the Australian view of Indonesia is clouded by perceptions of corruption, and the high profile issue of Australian citizen Schapelle Corby.

You see when Schapelle was arrested by the Indonesian Police, there was absolutely no film footage of this crucial event taken or preserved, and they handled the central evidence in a bizarre and cavalier fashion, e.g. without gloves on multiple occasions. This was in stark contrast to the filmed-from-all-angles arrest of the Bali 9, as Ross Coulthart, a journalist from Channel 9 points out . .

ROSS COULTHART: By contrast, when the Bali Nine were arrested last month, Indonesian Police were at pains to videotape themselves wearing gloves to ensure no evidence was contaminated. But nothing was filmed of Corby's arrest, nor the crucial search at Airport Customs where she disputes stopping officers from searching her bag. “Sunday” Channel 9

And compounding the puzzle, even though Schapelle begged for airport CCTV footage of this crucial interaction, every single frame vanished without explanation. How can this be, when to-day, the Indonesian Government is so keen to exhibit her, they allow the World's media to hunt a mentally ill woman into the toilet.

“The customs area at Ngurah Rai Airport is monitored by closed circuit cameras, which observed Corby's actions. They could corroborate or contradict her account. But the prosecutor said they were not checked.” Sydney Morning Herald

It gets worse though. The only evidence used to convict Schapelle were witness accounts of these disputed events, from Bali customs officers who did not speak English . . .

“The prosecution closed its case on February 17. It relies entirely on indisputable evidence that the marijuana was found in Corby's boogie board bag and on the contested testimony of two customs officers and two police officers about her actions and responses.

Winata's English-language proficiency was not established and will be challenged. Corby insists her responses were misunderstood. She says his English was not good and they had difficulty understanding each other. McComb, who also spoke to Winata that day, says the same.” Sydney Morning Herald

. . . so why, if this "Testimony" was so crucial, did the Indonesian Government trash all the CCTV evidence of Schapelle's arrival and arrest, and treat her so differently to the Bali 9?

So Greg and Kevin, can you liaise with each other please, and get back to me on that important question? I'll call your offices to confirm receipt very soon, and follow up with a formal reminder in four weeks if I've had no response in the interim. And don't forget, all this formal correspondence is going in the book and documentary . . .

Regards, Kim