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Schapelle begs PM to save her

By Cindy Wockner in Bali and Lincoln Wright

May 15, 2005 12:00am

Article from: Sunday Herald Sun

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SCHAPELLE Corby made a desperate personal plea for help to Prime Minister John Howard from her Bali jail cell yesterday.

In her first direct plea to Mr Howard, the accused drug trafficker begged him for justice, saying she doesn't know how much longer she can survive behind bars.

In the heartfelt cry for help, an anguished Corby, 27, said: "Mr Howard, as a father and as a leader, I plead for your help. I did not do this. I beg for justice.

"I don't know how much longer I can do this. Please bring me home. Please."

Her message from the jail cell came as there was growing belief that baggage handlers in Australia may have planted the marijuana in her luggage.

But Mr Howard yesterday said he could not interfere in the judicial process of another country.

"I feel for her. I understand why there's a lot of public sympathy for her," Mr Howard said.

"I would simply say that I hope justice is done and it's a fair and true verdict."

But he added: "I would ask the rhetorical question: My fellow Australians, if a foreigner were to come to Australia and a foreign government were to start telling us how we should handle (it), we would react very angrily to that."

Her message comes as three Denpasar District Court judges ponder their verdict.

Her Australian legal team has renewed requests for any video surveillance footage at Sydney airport on the day she left for Bali - the day baggage handlers allegedly allowed 10kg of cocaine to be shipped through the airport.

Revelations that Australian Federal Police conducted an airport undercover operation for months has given the team hope of obtaining surveillance footage.

Yesterday Corby's backer Ron Bakir said the team was awaiting an answer.

"We have requested from the federal police and Qantas whatever surveillance equipment they have," Mr Bakir said.

Corby's Bali lawyers are translating into Indonesian Australian media reports about the cocaine bust. These will be given to the judges tomorrow.

"We are going to try everything we possibly can. We will fire every bit of ammunition we have," Mr Bakir said.

"Twenty-four/seven we are working on trying to get information. We have been arguing that she is a victim of a drug syndicate, that she is an unknowing mule and they used her.

"We asked for someone from the AFP to testify that there was an investigation into baggage handlers," he said.

Denpasar District Court will hand down a verdict on May 27. If Corby is found guilty, judges will sentence her that day.

The Gold Coast woman has sent handwritten letters to the judges and the prosecutor exhorting them to find her not guilty and let her go home.

In one to the judges, she says she is barely scraping up enough strength to survive each day.

"Please find in your heart to let me go home. I need to go home," she wrote.

And to prosecutor Ida Bagus Wiswantanu, Ms Corby wrote: "I do believe the only mistake I have made in coming to this beautiful country of yours (yes, I still love and think this is a beautiful country) is not putting locks on my bags.

"Each day that goes by is becoming harder and harder for me, my energy, my strength is fast draining to almost empty. Please Mr Ida Bagus, I cannot (physically) survive here much longer. Please find in your heart to let me go home to my family, where I belong, Sincerely, Schapelle Corby."

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