(8/5/2013) The Warden at Bali’s Kerobokan Prison, Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, has refuted and denied unfavorable depictions of conditions at his prison made by former inmate Rachel Dougall, recently released from his care after serving one year for possessing cocaine.
Rachel Dougall, now back home in the U.K., claimed to the international press that she endured beatings and deprivations while being locked up with drug addicts, HIV-positive fellow inmates and sexually-aggressive lesbians. She also claims that she was compelled to sleep on a straw mat on concrete floor during the period of her imprisonment.
While critical of both her facilities and fellow prisoners, Dougall also poured vitriol on 57-year-old fellow-Briton Lindsay Sandiford, describing the woman as “pure evil” and "not the innocent she would like people to believe." Adding: "Everyone thinks she's this poor naive granny, but she's not. She doesn't deserve any sympathy; I've been told by many people in Bali and Britain that she's been bringing drugs into the country for 25 years."
Dougal’l’s comments may become negative fodder for Indonesian officials now considering a remission of Sandiford pending death sentence.
Sandiford’s arrest while smuggling a huge quantity of cocaine through Bali’s airport precipitated the arrest of Dougall, and two other men, one of whom was Dougall’s partner.
According to Beritabali.com, the warden of Bali’s Kerobokan Prison rejected Dougall’s claim of mistreatment. Upon hearing the accusation, the Warden convened a team of 16 people to look the conditions described by English felon and also invited a representative from the English Consulate to personally tour the prison.
“We immediately went to the women’s block (of the prison), we entered Rachel’s former cell. We invited a representative of the British Consulate named Liliana,” explained Wiratna.
Wiratna said the accusations on prison conditions leveled by Rachel Dougall are not supported with any substantive proof. He claimed his office has always coordinated the imprisonment of British subjects with the British Consulate who, according to the Warden, also do not believe Dougall’s claims of mistreatment.
Wiratna insisted his prison has nothing to hide, and there were no complaints of mistreatment by Rachel Dougall or the Consulate during the actual period of her imprisonment. In fact, the first the Warden heard of Dougall’s complaints was when he was called by the Minister of Justice and Human Rights and advised of Dougall's comments to the international press.
Upon receiving that call, the Warden formed an investigative team to visit the woman’s block. Saying his office investigates every complaint, he denied Dougall was tortured or slept on a thin mat. In describing Dougall’s sleeping arrangements, the Warden said Dougall slept on a mattress as large as the one he sleeps on each night.
Wiratna confirmed that on one occasion Rachel Dougall was urgently sent to a local hospital for treatment of an asthmatic condition. Thereafter, the prison provided a tank of medical oxygen in Dougall's cell. The Warden shot back: “We went to these extents to look after her (Dougall), but she is defaming us in the way. I don’t know what she’d up to. If I lie, I only do damage to myself.”
At the same time, Wiratna admitted that, after all, he was in charge of a prison, rejoining: “If you want air-conditioning, please stay in a hotel. We continue to pay good attention to all aspects.”