Schapelle Corby ‘deserves her freedom’, says former prison governor

Bali: The former governor of Bali’s Kerobokan jail has said Schapelle Corby has served her three years of parole in Bali well and deserves her freedom.


Corby, 39, who was convicted in 2005 for attempting to smuggle 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into Bali in a boogie board bag, is just days away from being deported back to Australia on May 27.

Former prison governor Gusti Ngurah Wiratna told Fairfax Media that Corby should use the lessons she had learned in Bali to live the rest of her life.

“She went through her parole time well, now she deserves her freedom,” he said.

In 2012 Mr Wiratna revealed Corby had become reluctant to take part in prison activities or even venture out of the cramped women’s cell-block at Kerobokan, which could have affected her chances of parole.

“When she had a meeting with me, she said that she’s still depressed. She’s afraid in situations when there is a crowd, traumatised … and that’s why she stopped going to church,” he said at the time.

As a result he took the unusual step of ordering church services be conducted in Corby’s cell block, to ensure she continued to receive religious instruction.

Corby has spent more than three years in Bali on parole, after being incarcerated in Kerobokan jail for almost a decade.

Her original sentence of 20 years was cut by five after former Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono approved Corby’s clemency plea in 2012.

Meanwhile, Corby’s fiercely protective sister, Mercedes, on Thursday appealed to the media to “stop stalking” Corby and give her some privacy.

“Please leave her alone. Stop stalking outside the house. She’s sick of the media, sick of all you guys stalking her,” Mercedes said outside the Bali Justice Office.

Corby is virtually a prisoner in her own home, a modest villa down a Kuta laneway where she lives with her brother Michael and reported boyfriend Ben Panangian.

The head of Bali Corrections, Surung Pasaribu, said he had heard Corby had confined herself inside the home until she was ill.

“She’s sick a lot because she confines herself, never jogging, never walking, never swimming, because too many are chasing her. That’s the information from her parole officer,” Mr Surung said.

“She’s very afraid, when media came, people came, that’s her complaint. As a human being it’s her right to complain.”

He said a meeting to discuss preparations for Corby’s upcoming release was held on Thursday.

Mr Surung said Corby had not attended because she was not too “fresh” due to the media filming outside her house.

Corby was regularly spotted running along Pantai Jerman, a beach in Bali, swimming, reading and shopping until the paparazzi made her reluctant to leave her home.

In her 2006 memoir My Story, co-written with Kathryn Bonella, Corby documented her “acute phobia” of photographers and cameras.

“It was the endless hounding by people taking sneaky shots of me that affected me the worst,” she wrote. “I was on alert, sharply flinching whenever I saw any type of flash,” she wrote. “Like all phobias, it gave me an irrational terror of them.”

Meanwhile, Bali immigration chief Muhammad Natsir stressed that Corby would not be locked up ahead of her flight back to Australia on May 27.

He said the parole officer would hand Corby over to immigration.

“She will be taken to the immigration area, sterile area, not detained, not locked up,” he said, stressing that he wanted to “straighten the news” and not offend Australia.

“Because in principle she’s free, if she’s free, we can’t lock her up.”

However Mr Natsir said she would be escorted by an immigration officer until her departure because once she was handed over by the parole officer she didn’t have a visa to be in Indonesia.

He asked the media not to create a commotion on “D Day”, because it would confuse the officers.

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