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One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

Schapelle Corby Seeks Mercy from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for 20-Year Sentence for Smuggling Drugs into Bali.

(4/13/2010) The Australian beautician academy student Schapelle Corby has reportedly filed a petition with Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono seeking clemency in connection with her 20-year jail sentence for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into Bali. Arrested in October 2004, Corby underwent a high-profile trial that ended in January 2006 with the Indonesian supreme court reaffirming the original sentence of 20 years imprisonment.

In seeking mercy from Indonesia's president, lawyers for Corby are asking that her sentence be reduced or that she be set free. The petition to the president contains affidavits from Indonesian and Australian mental health experts affirming that the 32-year-old Queensland woman is clinically insane, suffering from deep depression and psychosis. A Bali-based psychiatrist has stated that Corby's life is at risk if she is not removed to new surroundings, given close supervision and put on a regular course of medication.

Her doctors alleged that the prison environment at Bali's Kerobokan penitentiary is unsuitable for the woman who has adopted a child-like demeanour that has made her susceptible to exploitation.

The request to President Yudhoyono also underlines alleged irregularities in the police investigation and trial process including a failure to fingerprint the plastic bag containing the marijuana; the lack of a video record of her arrest at Bali's airport, the failure to provide surveillance videos from the airport in Australia; the lack of weight records for the baggage boarded in Australia and the refusal of Indonesian officials to allow DNA testing of the confiscated plants. In further mitigation, lawyers for the Australian woman cite a major cocaine bust at Sydney's airport that implicated baggage handlers who reportedly committed their crime on the same day Schapelle Corby transited that airport on her way to Bali.

Clemency appeals are exceedingly rare in Indonesia. The President is not under any legal compulsion to respond to the petition and, if he does so, such a reply could take months or even years.