May 31, 2005 - 7:39PM
Schapelle Corby is "bearing up really well" as she starts her 20-year jail
term for drug smuggling, according to Australian officials who visited her.
At her request, Corby's family and legal team stayed away from Bali's
Kerobokan prison on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old Gold Coast woman has asked for fewer visits while she
reflects on her situation and recuperates from the stress of her trial that
ended in chaos, screams and tears with a guilty verdict last Friday.
But she did receive a visit from Australian consul Ross Tysoe, who later
told journalists: "Schapelle's remarkably strong and bearing up really well
- she's in a very positive mood."
Tysoe, who brought Corby some mail and personal items, said she had adopted
a "positive" attitude now that her case had moved into its appeal phase.
She had been heartened by news that two Perth barristers would help in the
campaign for her freedom, he said.
Tysoe's comments run counter to many media reports that have said Corby is
inconsolable and have painted her morale as rock bottom.
Earlier, a woman who regularly visits a friend also serving time at
Kerobokan prison said Corby had made friends behind bars and was spending
time writing in a book, possibly documenting her experience.
"She is very nice. Most people in the jail know her. She smiles to anyone
who says hello," said the Indonesian woman who asked not to be named.
She said Corby had male and female friends on the inside, and regularly sat
by herself by a fish pond in the middle of the prison's main yard where she
spent time writing in a book, "perhaps a diary".
Corby's defence team has confirmed she has asked her family and lawyers for
fewer visits as she takes time to fully comprehend her situation.
But as she does so, her defence team is working on putting together an
appeal against her conviction and the 20-year sentence handed to her for
smuggling 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali last October.
Also visiting the prison was Kay Danes - the Australian woman who with her
husband Kerry spent 10 grim months in Phone Tong prison in Laos after they
were caught up in a dispute over the ownership of a sapphire mine.
They were freed when pardoned by the Southeast Asian country's president
following negotiations with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
Kay Danes is now a human rights advocate with the Foreign Prisoner Support
Group - an organisation that helps Australians and others being held in
jails around the world.
Danes brought in some basic items - such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste -
for Corby and four other foreigners, British and American, being held in
She said that conditions inside were not as bad as many jails elsewhere in
Asia. However, with poor food and no support, a prisoner would find it a
Danes said Australians should remember that there were more than 100 of
their compatriots imprisoned overseas.
"They don't have the same level of support Schapelle is getting. But they
are human beings and need our compassion," she said.
Danes said she saw Corby but did not speak with her.
She declined to speak directly about the Corby case or the frenzied
controversy it has stirred in Australia.
However, she gave some advice based on her own frightening experience as a
prisoner in a faraway land.
"If you want to go home, go about it quietly," she said.
"Don't try to fight it."
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