Corby family's interview bid rebuffed

Last updated 20:05 21/02/2014

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Schapelle Corby's sister Mercedes and brother-in-law Wayan Widyartha have travelled to Jakarta to plead with Indonesia's Justice Minister to be allowed to do a paid interview but once again they have been rebuffed.

The pair visited the ministry on Thursday but Justice, Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin refused to meet them.

Then, on Friday, he rejected their plea to be allowed to do an interview now understood to be worth “in the ballpark” of $500,000.

Mr Amir said on Friday that the Indonesian government's position remained that no interview should take place.

“It would be good if [Corby] realises her status as a convict,” Mr Amir said on Friday.

“[She is] a convict whose parole was granted, but it was given under certain conditions, one of which is she … does not create restlessness within the society.”

After being knocked back for a meeting with Mr Amir, the Corby family submitted a four-page letter asking him to reconsider.

“Whatever letter was submitted, Corby must realise that the coverage about her has become a really big thing,” Mr Amir said.

“It would be good if she realised, and her own family realised, that they should not let [Bali's parole board] Bapas conclude that the condition to revoke the parole has been fulfilled because there is restlessness.”

The rebuff comes on top of a similar comment by Ketut Artha, the head of Bapas.

Mr Ketut has said he feels his job is “at stake” if he allows the interview to go ahead.

However, the family has refused to stop lobbying as Corby remained late on Friday holed up in a Bali villa compound with a crew from the Seven Network's Sunday Night program.

It is understood they would consent to having an Indonesian government representative in the room with them during the interview, and that Corby would try to steer away from any content that could be deemed to cause “restlessness”.

FULL TEXT OF THE LETTER, TRANSLATED FROM INDONESIAN

Addressed to head of Bali parole board in Denpasar

We’re writing this letter in response to the meeting with the parole officer on Friday 14 February, 2014, about your attitude to an interview request to Schapelle Corby by Australian TV.

We understand your response and we hope we can convince you that we don’t have any intention to disrespect the Indonesian government or the minister of law and Human Rights, but instead, come to feel that such an interview is worthy and required.

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As you have seen, a lot of media are interested in covering Schapelle, and this will not stop until an interview is conducted. We have a journalist we can trust and when Schapelle is ready to speak, we want her to do an interview. We don’t trust other media because they often twist facts and often lie. 

The selected journalist will fully understand Schapelle’s parole condition and fully respects the Indonesian government.

We hope you can understand that Schapelle has suffered a lot of pain and trauma from the media. Since the day she was released, they were climbing the walls and roofs to get candid photos, pretending to be family members, and camping out in front of the gate.

The interview, however, would not only help Schapelle. All of our family members were followed and chased after. From a week before Schapelle’s release, we were already being chased by the media on motorbikes, and the same thing was happening to our three children.

There’s nothing else Schapelle wants except to get back to her life, but that won’t happen until an interview is conducted. The media wants to hear Schapelle’s voice, and she’ll always be haunted until they get it. She however is not yet entirely mentally healthy, and we believe that, by having a one on one interview conducted by a trusted journalist, someone she is comfortable with, is the only way to do it.

If you want to that journalist to interview him, it is possible.

The interview will be very much controlled and won’t be broadcast live, and we’ll invite Bapas officers to be present during the interview.

If Schapelle doesn’t speak within the near future, our family members will be forced to speak on behalf of Schapelle. It has already happened a lot to our family in Australia, and it won’t happen within a controlled environment — we want it to be Schapelle who speaks so that the interview can be controlled.

We say once again that the interview won’t be negative about Indonesia.

Below are the general things we will raise in the interview: family support, mental health, future plans, family relations and our reunion after the release, how she survived in the prison, and her feelings when her freedom was taken, her life before the arrest in 2004, the loss of her father, what happened at the Australian airport on the day she departed, and thanking all her supporters.

We also would like to say the reason for why we’re still staying at the villa and not in our home in Kuta: we want to provide a transition to Schapelle’s life, free from stress, and we also don’t want to create an uncomfortable situation for our neighbourhood. Since the day of release, there have been many groups of journalists in front of the fence around our house.

And we are not yet ready to return to our home because it will be inconvenient for the community surrounding the house.

We’re grateful for being allowed to stay in the villa for a certain time until we can arrange better security.

We feel such an interview is much needed by Schapelle, so she can focus on her freedom and get her life back.

To assist in your consideration of our request, we attach a written statement.

Sincerely yours, 

Wayan Widyartha

Mercedes Corby


- Sydney Morning Herald

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