Sat, 05 Mar 2005
From: AFP

Downer to intervene in Bali drugs case

Agence France-Presse, Canberra

Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said on Friday he will personally intervene in the case of Australian woman Schapelle Corby, who is facing a drug smuggling charge in Indonesia which carries the death penalty.

Corby, 27, denies she smuggled 4.1 kilograms of cannabis into Bali's Denpasar Airport in her unlocked boogie board bag in October last year.

Last month anti-drug protesters stormed her Bali court hearing, demanding her execution for the crime.

Her lawyers have complained that the Australian government has not done enough to help their client.

Lawyer Vasu Rasiah said Corby was under a lot of strain. "Some days she's good, some days she's bad, and some days she's worse," the ABC website reported him as saying.

"She can't understand why she's being held there and she's mystified why her country can't do anything. They might as well put the girl against the wall and shoot (her) themselves."

However, Downer, who intends to meet Corby's lawyers very soon, insisted the authorities were willing to help in any way they could.

"Other than providing consular assistance ... the best we can do is if her defense comes up with more ideas for information, if we can assist to obtain that information, we would always try to do that," he said.

"We are concerned about this case and we are following it very closely," he told ABC radio in Sydney.

Prime Minister John Howard said he had a personal interest in case but stressed the Australian government could not interfere with the judicial process in Indonesia.

"I choose my words very carefully because I have to respect the legal system of another country," Howard said.





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