By CINDY WOCKNER in Denpasar, Bali
SCHAPELLE Corby has issued a plea for Australians to "stay calm".
Making the call from her cramped Indonesian jail cell, Corby warned Australians that over-reactions and anti-Indonesian sentiment about her controversial drug smuggling conviction was making her life behind bars very difficult.
Since threats were made to the Indonesian Embassy in Australia, she had been subjected to derogatory remarks by Indonesian prisoners, which she found extremely distressing.
The 27-year-old's message yesterday to her countrymen came after a two-hour visit to the jail by two Australian barristers who have joined her legal team.
After the meeting, Mark Trowell, QC, said Corby had asked him to convey a message to the public in her home country and in Indonesia and to thank all her supporters, who helped keep her going.
"She asks Australians
to think very carefully about how they would respond to her situation," Mr Trowell said.
"She was extremely upset about the recent events in Australia and of course the demonstrations that took place recently in Jakarta. But she knows that does not represent the general view of the Australian population nor, indeed, of the Indonesian population," Mr Trowell said outside the jail.
"She wants to make the point that that sort of over-reaction to her situation makes her life very difficult for her inside prison and also being critical of Indonesia serves no purpose other than to make life harder for her.
"She asks everyone to stay calm and support her in this extremely difficult period of her life," he said.
Meanwhile, Lindy Chamberlain, wrongly convicted of murdering her daughter Azaria almost 25 years ago, has told Corby her "heart bleeds" for her.
Women's magazine New Idea this week details a letter Ms Chamberlain wrote to Corby, advising that "suicide is a coward's way out" and to "cling" to the facts. "You are just a few years younger than I was when I went through my ordeal," Ms Chamberlain writes in the magazine.
"Seeing your verdict and your reaction to it made me feel like I had been kicked all over again."
She advised her to take the help of the "top lawyers" the Government had offered her and "keep quiet" about her appeal.
"As much as it will bug your family and supporters not to hear news of your case, don't let the prosecution have forewarning. This is crucial - it could ruin your release chances."
Mr Trowell said that since the tide of anti-Indonesian sentiment in Australia in the wake of her verdict had become known inside the prison, Corby had been subjected to derogatory remarks from fellow prisoners.
"If people want to support her they should do it in a calm and reasoned manner and not be extreme and be critical to promote the sort of disgraceful thing that we saw happen in Canberra recently at the Indonesian Embassy," he said.
"No one supports that and it certainly doesn't help her. She was extremely depressed by it."
Mr Trowell said Corby became a focus when such sentiments were expressed "by people who are ignorant" and don't understand the process. "She is the one who bears the brunt of that criticism," he said.
"She just wants to reassure the Indonesian people that any views that have come about because of her position and situation are not the views that she carries."
Mr Trowell said Corby had asked him to convey to her supporters that their letters were welcome and gave her comfort at night in her cell.
"She also said that she wants everyone to keep writing to her. She derived a lot of support and emotional support from the fact that she receives hundreds of letters a day," Mr Trowell said.
Fellow barrister Phillip Laskaris said Corby spent time meditating and trying to keep strong and focused for the battle ahead. The pair said Corby understood that the appeal process would take time and that she needed to be patient.
"She is a good kid and she is trying very hard to deal with what is, I suppose, the worst time of her life," Mr Trowell said.
He told how, even when her own plight was so serious, Corby was considerate of her fellow inmates and arranged for her family and friends to bring things for other prisoners.
The Perth barristers pointed out yesterday they were not in Bali to "muscle in" on the case and any initial misunderstandings or friction between them and the existing team had now been ironed out.
They said Corby was delighted to learn from them that the Federal Government had been helping to fund her Indonesian legal team, something of which she had been unaware.
Today her Indonesian lawyers will travel to Jakarta to meet several leading defence attorneys in a bid to get them on side to help draft the appeal.