Weekend Bulletin, August 27-28, 2005 - Page 19 - by Christina Swaneveld
IF Schapelle Corby’s prison sentence is reduced it will do little to ease the Gold Coast woman’s burden, says prisoners’ rights advocate Kay Danes.
"It’s crumbs, isn’t it? Ten years is crumbs off a plate," said Ms Danes, who was on the Gold Coast yesterday. "If you have strapped drugs to your body, you’ve got to accept your fate. "But I have honestly looked into Schapelle’s eyes with an open mind and I really believe she should not be there. "She didn’t do it."
Ms Danes recently visited Ms Corby at Kerobokan prison, having endured a similar experience herself. Five years ago, the Laotian Government took hostage, tortured and then imprisoned Kay and her husband Kerry. The couple were accused of stealing gemstones but the Danes maintained their innocence throughout the ordeal and were brought home
10 months later.
Next week, the Bali High Court’s decision on the appeal against Ms Corby’s 20-year sentence for drug trafficking is
expected to be announced. There are rumours the sentence may be reduced to 10 years. However, Ms Danes has
concerns about Ms Corby’s physical health and her ability to cope for that long.
"I was sick for five days with salmonella poisoning because the beef had maggots in it," said Ms Danes. "I think of things like that and I relate them to people like Schapelle and the Bali Nine. How are they going to survive in these hellish conditions? "When I visited Schapelle, I also spoke to a young chap from the UK. "He was arrested for carrying two ecstasy tablets and got four years. "He looked like he’d been there 20 years."
Ms Danes said the British prisoner’s teeth were ‘rotten and brown’ while he had the ‘aged’ skin of an old man. Also on the Gold Coast yesterday, speaking at a media club luncheon, was Terry Hicks, father of Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks.
Mr Hicks, 30, was arrested four years ago during the US led war in Afghanistan. Terry Hicks has slammed Prime Minister John Howard’s decision to fast-track a US military commission at Guantanamo Bay. "The commissions aren’t structured to find anyone not guilty," said Mr Hicks. "They have picked a select panel and on that panel is a
man who had a brother who was killed in the Twin Towers (in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001). "He’s going to sit there and judge David – that’s not on." Mr Hicks says he is concerned about his son’s health and the prospect of him facing such a commission. "David has incredible inner strength but the big problem is that doesn’t last for ever.
"He’s now starting to get to the point where he gets very stressed and little things start to get to him." He said he would continue his campaign to have his son’s case heard in Australia. "My theory at the moment is, if David was with the Taliban, there’s nothing wrong with that," he said.
"The only reason David got in that situation was because it was the only way he could get home. It was the only safe way out, to join that army and then try and get back. "When they’re kids, it doesn’t matter whether they’re drug addicts, murderers, whatever – my belief is you brought them into the world, you’ve got to look after them."