|Bali's Kerobokan Prison|
The Corby family's inept handling of Schapelle's first weeks of freedom has angered one of the Bali Nine members, who believes it may turn Indonesian authorities against other Australians in the prison system.
Martin Stephens, who is serving a life term for his role in the 2005 heroin smuggling operation, says he is particularly furious at the behaviour of Corby’s sister, Mercedes.
"I'm so angry with her. She should just shut up and let it all settle down so it doesn’t affect everyone else," Stephens told Fairfax Media.
Mercedes’ decision to do an exclusive interview with the Seven Network has infuriated the Indonesian authorities and threatened Schapelle’s parole.
But Stephens says it may also affect an application he and others have for a sentence reduction.
Stephens said he did not blame Schapelle, who was probably just trying to settle into life outside Kerobokan. But her family had “sold out all the foreigners in the Indonesian system, not just me” with their desire for “quick bucks” from an interview.
"I've heard complaints from people from other countries too who are hoping for parole. It affects all foreigners who are looking for a second chance at a normal life," Stephens said.
"If she stuffs it up for the rest of us, I don’t know what I’m going to do."
The controversy surrounding Schapelle’s release comes at a very delicate time for the Bali Nine. Six of them including Stephens have just applied to have their life sentences reduced to a fixed term — probably 15 or 20 years. But the decision is up to Law and Human Rights minister Amir Syamsuddin who has already expressed his frustration at the political backlash over Mercedes’ interview.
Two other Bali Nine members — Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan — are on death row. Their legal appeals are exhausted and they are waiting on news from the president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono about their bid for clemency. That decision could be made at any time, as he cannot remain president beyond October this year.
Mercedes apologised last week for any “unease” in Indonesia caused by her interview, saying she had not intended any disrespect to the government.
Mr Amir has not yet announced whether he will revoke Schapelle’s parole.
The Bali Nine have learned to be wary about their sentence reduction applications — this is the fourth time that Stephens and others have applied. Their past applications have been supported by prison management but a series of events outside their control, such as a riot at Kerobokan in 2012 and another at a prison in Medan last year, have stopped them being granted.
This time Stephens said he hoped for success because Indonesian prisons are overcrowded and prison governors are under pressure to grant good behaviour remissions and parole where they can to move people through the system.
If they are granted a fixed term, the Bali Nine lifers will become eligible for time off for good behaviour, parole, and other benefits of the Indonesian prison system.
The Bali Nine were convicted in 2005 of attempting to traffic 8.3kg of heroin from Bali to Australia.
Source: Brisbane Times, March 10, 2014