Case Study: |
Schapelle Leigh Corby (born 10 July 1977) is an Australian woman convicted and imprisoned for the importation of 4.2kg into Bali, Indonesia. She was sentenced 20 years on 27 May 2005 and currently serves her sentence in Kerobokan prison, Bali. On appeal, her conviction and sentence were confirmed with finality by the Indonesian Supreme Court. Her trial and conviction were a major focus of attention for the Australian media. Her due release date, with remissions, is currently 2024.
Schapelle Corby, like it or not, was caught, charged, tried in a court, and convicted pursuant to Indonesian law. Some question the fairness of the judicial process. Others believe that in Indonesian terms the sentence is not manifestly excessive, however that does not mean that it is not harsh for comparable crimes.
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Regardless of whether people believe Schapelle Corby is innocent or guilty, this case along with many others highlights a very real need to raise awareness of foreign internment and how it affects prisoners and their families. Hence the question:
What if you are arrested overseas or know someone who has been arrested and now jailed in a foreign prison?
Unfortunately many people think that when their loved one is arrested overseas, that their Government will rush to their defence, tell the detaining government what to do and free the prisoner immediately. Some even quote various violations of International Law, Human Rights mandates and local laws. Others quote corruption and insist that foreign aid, given in times of emergency ie: Tsunami, should be used as a bargaining chip to free the prisoner in question, or to cut all diplomatic ties as a means of demanding their release.
Reality check: foreign internment is a complex area
Where to begin if your loved one is arrested overseas:-
a) get a competent lawyer who won't offend the detaining party by saying their laws are ridiculous (even if you think they are); make sure they are familiar with international law, sovereignty, foreign judicial process, AND mindful of cultural sensitivities (what is and isn't offensive in that culture);
b) establish a good rapport with the consular officers in the field, and with your point of contact through your relevant foreign affairs department;
c) work with people who have proven experience to develop a sound strategic plan away from the media, utilising the support and advice of known professionals who have extensive knowledge and key contacts in foreign relations,
d) work with them to engage the foreign government with dignity and respect, after all, they are best able to make approaches without the emotional attachments that can derail negotiations early on;
You attract more bees with honey than you do with vinegar
e) understand that these processes are complex and not easily resolved. Understand the reality of what your government can and cannot do for you.
Frequently Asked Questions - Arrested, detained and jailed overseas:
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Information compiled & published by Rev Michael McGuiness - Email me here