U Gambira Sheds Light On Schapelle Corby Scandal

U Gambira, the leader of the 2007 Saffron Revolution in Burma, has called for the immediate release of Australian woman Schapelle Corby, from Kerobokan Prison in Bali, Indonesia.

Gambira, a former political prisoner of the Burmese military junta, was sentenced to 68 years in prison, but was later pardoned following global outrage and international pressure.

This week, he released a number of birds in Mandalay, in a symbolic and spiritual gesture, to protest at Schapelle Corby’s continued incarceration. He paraded self-made posters and signs, referring to the work of The Expendable Project in exposing the political corruption in Australia, which resulted in Corby’s imprisonment in 2004.

Last week, a formal submission was presented to the United Nations, on behalf of citizens in over 50 nations (see attached PDF). This introduced the substantial volume of material uncovered by researchers and published online (www.expendable.tv/p/expendable-dossier.html). ?

Attached images:
1.? U Gambira demonstrating his support for Schapelle Corby and the work of The Expendable Project
2. The protest release of birds in Mandalay
3. U Gambira as leader of the Saffron Revolution
4. The Saffron Revolution

Further information on the Schapelle Corby case:


? Scoop Media

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Schapelle Corby is set to have her jail term cut further as lawyers for the convicted drug smuggler continue to work on a possible parole bid.

The governor of Bali's Kerobokan jail, Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, has confirmed that Corby has been recommended for a six-month sentence cut set to be announced as part of Indonesian Independence Day celebrations on August 17.

The Bali Nine's Renae Lawrence is also in line for a six-month reduction in her sentence.

The 35-year-old from Newcastle is serving 20 years for her role in a failed 2005 plot to smuggle more than 8kg of heroin from Bali to Australia. She has already been granted more than two years in remissions.

"Both women are receiving maximum remission because both are deserving," Wiratna told AAP.

Corby has been eligible to apply for parole since last August but is yet to lodge an application after the Indonesian government introduced a new set of strict conditions for prisoners convicted of serious crimes including drug trafficking.

The 36-year-old's lawyer, Iskandar Nawing, said he was still waiting for word from immigration department officials who are yet to provide a letter clarifying her immigration status, and which is needed before she applies for parole.

"We're still waiting for green light from the immigration officials. When they've given signal that it's okay, then we'll go ahead," he said.

The regulations signed off on in April means there are a number of other hurdles that Corby may have to clear before gaining parole, including agreeing to become a so-called "justice collaborator", as well as admitting guilt and showing remorse.

Corby, who was caught in 2004 attempting to import 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into Bali in her bodyboard bag, was sentenced to 20 years in jail but had that term slashed by five years by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

If Corby fails to win parole, the latest sentence cut if confirmed would mean the earliest she could walk free from Kerobokan jail is mid-2015, so long as she continues to win the maximum eight months per year in remissions.

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The rumble resulted from the uproar in Tanjung Gusta Penitentiary in Medan had yet to cease, the public was shocked by media reports of super-special facilities provided to drug convict on death row Freddy Budiman at Cipinang Penitentiary in East Jakarta. The news about the practice deals a further blow not only to the country’s fight against drugs but also its war on corruption.

In this shameful incident, it was revealed later that Freddy was given a special chamber that allowed his female associates to make conjugal visits. The drug convict also used the chamber to consume methamphetamine, or shabu-shabu. Presumably the international drug lord is still running his business from behind bars, learning from the incident.

It will be tremendously bizarre if our sense of justice is not hurt by this disgraceful incident. This nation has declared drug crimes to be the most extraordinary, but how can a drug felon be given facilities far beyond our common sense? Moreover, in the middle of constant scrutiny of penitentiaries, how is it possible that such misconduct keeps recurring?

When one attempts to trace the provision of numerous facilities to high-profile inmates, the public might not be too shocked by the luxury that Freddy has enjoyed. A series of events demonstrated that penitentiary has turned into a temporary rest area for felons. With their financial might, those inmates easily “buy” prison authorities.

In the corruption field, for instance, we cannot forget the frequent outings of former junior tax officer Gayus HP Tambunan, including overseas, while in police detention. We can also recall luxurious facilities provided to graft convict Artalyta Suryani in the Pondok Bambu women prison in East Jakarta. Both facts show that jail wardens may play a double role as state officials and members of the drug mafia.

Therefore, when the news about the special chamber for Freddy was leaked to the public, our skepticism about the government’s commitment to turning penitentiary institution into a curative agent for criminals, especially those convicted of extraordinary crimes, is seemingly unmistakable. It has long been rumored that penitentiaries have instead become a safe havens for many crime lords to control their illicit businesses from within.

It is imaginable that as the penitentiary has never come under the public spotlight, prison guards of Cipinang Drugs Penitentiary easily sell their authorities to prisoners. Compared to other penitentiaries, Cipinang definitely possesses a much tighter internal control mechanism. But if a strictly controlled penitentiary like Cipinang is prone to misconducts, how about other drug and ordinary penitentiaries?

Perhaps, among other explanation of the rampant misconducts involving prison guards is this nation’s lack of commitment to the eradication of drug crimes. One of the pieces of proof of the state of inferiority is the government’s clemency to Schapelle Corby, an Australian citizen who was sentenced to 20 years of imprisonment. As far as the public is concerned, protests and objection from various quarters failed to stop the government from slashing Corby’s jail term by five years.

Before Corby, the drug convict on death row Meirika Franola (Ola) was commuted to life imprisonment for human rights reasons. The clemency backfired later on as West Java’s National Narcotics Agency (BNN) discovered that Ola had masterminded an attempt to smuggle 775 grams of methamphetamine from India via Hussein Sastranegara Airport in Bandung. It’s clear that Ola has metamorphosed from a courier into an inmate-trafficker within only a year after the clemency was granted.

Possibilities are open that the lack of commitment among the high-level government officials to the fight against drugs has weakened enforcement of the law against the drug convicts. Not to mention the fact penitentiaries are one of most difficult-to-manage units within the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. By far, the classic problem of authority trade among jail wardens and prisoners, particularly the high-profile ones, is nearly unsolvable.

Judging from the gravity of drug-related crimes and their impacts on future generations, the immediate dismissal of Cipinang Drugs Penitentiary warden is far from adequate to appease the public anger with the super-luxurious facilities given to Freddy.

The disgraceful incident has hurt the public’s sense of justice, but unfortunately the people have not heard any convincing response from the highest authority. Hopes abound that concrete measures to cope with the frequent scandals inside the country’s penitentiaries will be taken immediately, rather than normative statements.

Apart from being sensitive to the public’s high expectations in the wake of the recent Cipinang prison incident, it is better for the law enforcers to no longer put on hold the court’s verdict that sentenced Freddy to death.

That the court heightened the punishment for Freddy such as deprivation of some of his rights as an inmate should be well understood as the court’s refusal to give him mercy. His bid for leniency should therefore be perceived as an attempt to impede the court’s verdict.

Freddy’s quest for clemency is not worth considering anymore given his nerve to bribe prison guards. The government should have learned a lesson from the leniency awarded to Ola.

It must be underlined that the longer the law enforcers defer the court’s verdict the more opportunities are there for Freddy to spring more spectacular “surprises”. Should the authorities wait for another slap in the face? Or, probably, drug crimes have ceased to be a serious threat to the nation.

The writer is professor of constitutional law and director of the Center for Constitution Studies (PUSaKO) at Andalas University’s School of Law, Padang.

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Jailed Australian inspires Darwin Festival drama Jock Palfreeman. Photo: ABC TV/AAP.

After learning about the plight of Jock Palfreeman, Samantha Young was inspired to write a play about his? imprisonment.

When Schapelle Corby was arrested in Bali in October 2004 for the importation of 4.2 kg of marijuana, the degree of interest in her subsequent trial and prison sentence meant that she became one of a handful of Australians known to all – like Kylie – by her first name only.

Her case stands in stark contrast with the plight of Jock Palfreeman, a young Australian arrested in Sophia, Bulgaria in December 2007, and currently serving a 20 year sentence for a murder he says he did not commit. Few Australians have heard of him, and his case has generated relatively little media attention – certainly not the blanket coverage of the Corby case.

One woman who is extremely familiar with Palfreeman’s story is Darwin-based actor, writer, filmmaker and director Samantha Young.

‘I read an article on the internet that compared Palfreeman to Schapelle Corby, and it was talking about how we’re very active as a nation about the Schapelle case, but here is another person who is languishing in prison, who also claims they’re innocent, and I became really kind of enthralled with it, to be honest. I just felt, from what I initially read, I just thought the evidence was very clearly on Palfreeman’s side and I was incensed; I just couldn’t understand how this could happen,’ she told artsHub.

Palfreeman, now 26,?was sentenced to?20 years in prison after a Bulgarian court found him guilty of murder with hooliganism and attempted murder in late 2009, but even a cursory look at the case indicates that his original and subsequent trials were highly irregular.

Palfreeman claims to have come to the aid of two young Roma men who were being assaulted by a gang of football hooligans, and says he has no memory of stabbing anyone – let alone in the back, as local media were to claim. Bulgarian police failed to secure the crime scene and did not interview crucial witnesses – including the Roma youths. Evidence was lost or not presented in court; key witnesses changed their statements. In short, the prosecution’s case was deeply flawed, but still Palfreeman languishes in jail. To date he has served six years of his sentence, most of it in the notoriously run-down Sofia Central Prison. ?

Initially moved to write to Palfreeman, Young soon realised she wanted to do more than just pen letters – she wanted to make his story the basis of her first full-length play.

‘I was actually writing Palfreeman for quite a few months before I thought that it was something I would make theatrical. I never wrote to him with the intention of creating a work out of it; it’s just something that was supplementary when I was actually scheduled to be making another project and that fell through. My mentor at the time asked me, not are there any other plays you’re interested in; they asked me “what are you passionate about?” and I said “well I’m passionate about this injustice”.’

The resulting play, entitled To the End of Reckoning, will be presented as a rehearsed reading at this month’s Darwin Festival. Given her personal interest in the case – Young went so far as to fly to Sophia to meet with Palfreeman – she is the first to admit there may be an element of bias in the script.

‘Initially my work was going to be completely verbatim; it was going to be a verbatim piece of theatre, but I realised that even through doing that I couldn’t be 100% honest about it because I was still the person selecting the information that would later go into the play. So now I am a character in the show, and by having myself as a character in the show I openly address my own bias.

‘I wonder if it’s too meta?’ she adds, laughing.

Palfreeman himself has given Young his blessing. ‘He thought it was hilarious,’ she says, when asked how Jock responded to her request to write about his plight. ‘He thought it was hilarious and he said “go for it”.’

Having lived in the Top End for five years, Young said she is delighted to be able to present this play reading of To the End of Reckoning at the Darwin Festival.

‘The Festival is an incredible time to be in Darwin. It is kind of alive and exciting; it brings up a lot of work that we wouldn’t get to see otherwise, and that is so important, because otherwise we’re only referencing stuff that we make ourselves. It’s really important to have that diversity of work. And then yeah, it does support local artists and musicians and visual artists ...? It really is an exciting time when the whole of city becomes engaged in the arts. And I think that what’s wonderful about the Darwin community is that the Darwin community are theatre attenders – people in the general public in Darwin go to the arts; in fact they go to everything. People in Darwin don’t like to be kept indoors.’

It’s an outlook that Jock Palfreeman no doubt shares.

To the End of Reckoning

By Samantha Young

Brown’s Mart Theatre, Darwin

25 August

Darwin Festival 2013


8 – 25 August

Richard Watts is a Melbourne-based arts writer and broadcaster. The founder of the Emerging Writers' Festival and a Life Member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, he has worked for a wide array of arts organisations and sat on numerous boards. In addition to writing for artsHub, Richard presents the weekly program SmartArts on 3RRR. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts

To contact the artsHub news desk email editor@artshub.com.au. Keep up-to-date with the latest industry news; be part of the conversation and an engaged arts community by following artsHub on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr


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Australian Paul Conibeer who is prison in Bali's Kerobokan prison. Australian Paul Conibeer who is prison in Bali's Kerobokan prison. Source: Supplied

THE guards at Bali's feared Kerobokan prison look at me with only mild interest, the only white man in a huddled group of chattering visitors with a plastic bag full of groceries at my feet. The air is humid as only Bali can be. Sweat a constant companion, along with a few nerves. I'm about to go and meet a man who I've never met, who doesn't know I'm coming. A man who has quite a story to tell?.

I got here a few weeks ago to shoot a documentary. Stepping off the plane is an experience in itself. A prickle of sweat confirms my arrival as I'm drowned in close to one hundred per cent humidity and stifling heat. Long queues of bored passengers, customs as basic as it gets. You have a passport and money, and Bali wants you to use both.

It's by far Australia's favourite holiday destination. Close to one million of us are expected to file through Denpasar airport this year, battle the hectic traffic and the street hawkers, and stand on those magnificent beaches framed by waves that every surfer dreams of. Hotels can be cheap, beer is even cheaper, and everything and anything can be bought on the street.

But we are not alone in our love of this place. When you add domestic tourists with international, Bali is flooded yearly with eight million people, a number that's twice its population. Many feel that a growing desperation for the tourist dollar, fuelled by the chasm of disparity between the Rupiah and just about any other currency, has changed a place with a reputation of being one of the friendliest destinations on earth.

Consider this. In 2012 an Australian died in Bali every nine days. That's almost one a week. A lot of it is from misadventure like motorbike accidents, or drug overdoses, but there is also a long list of murders. Add to this the number of assaults, rapes, and robberies, and Bali has a dark side that's not advertised in the brochures.

One of the cases we pursued was that of Queensland surfer Mark Ovenden. His body was found next to his scooter down a dirt track. His injuries were severe. Even though his motorbike was upright, it was originally passed off as a road accident. That was until the coroners report came in. Mark died of strangulation, his oesophagus had been crushed. But by now, the evidence had been handled by many people, the crime scene contaminated. His family was told police are working on it. That was more than two years ago.

We walked into Denpasar police station, and were directed to a small dank room out the back. We were there to collect his belongings on behalf of the family and to try and get some answers. We were not expecting what happened next.

All of Marks remaining worldly possessions, a camera, shoes, wallet, ID, a laptop, were stuffed into two shoeboxes. Written on the top in permanent marker was his name, the detective in charge and the date it was brought in. This was the extent of the filing system. The lead detective signed it over to us, and that was that. Knives from inside the prison. Knives from inside the prison. Source: Supplied

But before we left I asked him where they were with the case. There is no case, he replied. Mark died of natural causes.

In disbelief I pointed out the coroners report, he looked at the file again. Some time passed before he eventually told me, yes, yes, actually we are still looking for the suspects.

No they're not, and it doesn't take a detective to work that out. Marks family will most likely never find out who murdered their son so brutally and left him to die on a dirt road, and his case is not an isolated one. We looked into three equally mysterious deaths. They all had the same hallmarks. Severe injuries, obvious suspicions coupled with police incompetence or complete inaction. In some cases family members were openly told they would need to pay the police to get things done.

Bali is often called the Island of the Gods, exotic and enchanting but Channel Nine has taken a look at the dark side of paradise. Courtesy Channel Nine

Sometimes however, Australians are to blame for the trouble they find themselves in. The temptations are simply far too strong, especially to the party crowd.

They are drawn to the temples of excess that populate Kuta with flashing lights and competing sound systems that blare distorted music into next week. The pubs and clubs are legendary. Foam parties, rooftop bars, and barman who will never tell you you've had enough. Many of these places are either owned, or run by security teams connected to the many gangs that have carved up Kuta. We looked into a story where the security teams themselves are the ones spiking drinks, ripping people off, handing out gang bashings, and worse.

Fuelling all this is what you can buy on the street. Lets start with what's legal, pseudoephedrine, otherwise known as speed, and hallucinogenic mushrooms which, incredibly, you can buy in milkshake form. Then there's the other stuff. Cocaine, ecstasy, and ice. We walked the streets with hidden cameras, and caught the dealers offering, cajoling, showing handfuls of their product. At times following us aggressively, promising low prices like we were bartering for a Bintang T-shirt. Add this to copious amounts of alcohol and it's no wonder the hospitals here do a roaring trade with banged up Australian's. In the time we were there, we saw numerous patients with black eyes, broken noses, a split lip that required more than 20 stitches from a king hit.

The ages of those flooding the streets are mostly young and about to get younger. The Gold Coast, once the mecca for schoolies week, has cleaned up its act so much, has come down so hard on hell raising kids, last year saw a record number head to Bali. No pesky door checks for smuggled booze, no tedious lines to scrutinise I.D. no barman telling you, you can only order a few shots at a time. Just hit the go button, and hope you get home. With some luck the spirits won't be laced with the local and sometimes deadly vodka known as Arak, or like a recent survey found, ethanol. Apparently it works just as well in your blood stream as it does in your car, except it's an accident waiting to happen.

And while Bali can seem like a place without rules, without boundaries, if you do find yourself on the wrong side of the law, you'll find out just how wrong you are. Indonesian law is not like it is back home. It's a different legal system, harsh laws, and even harsher penalties. Just ask Schapelle Corby, or any member of the Bali nine, or the families of the ten drug smugglers that have either been executed, or due to be, this year alone. Each will be tied to a post, alone, on a remote island, in the dark, waiting for the orders from the firing squad in standing front of them.

You know the big names, but it might surprise you to find out there are close to 20 Australians behind the razor wire at Kerobokan prison, otherwise known as Hotel K, although it's unlike any hotel I've ever been to.

After more than two hours, finally the guard at the gate yells out my number in Bahasa and an Indonesian woman next to me shoves me forward, I head through the metal door and into a small room packed with guards, I hand over the grubby plastic card with my number on it, and my mobile phone. Two of them start rummage through my bag of groceries. I ask them about their day, but no one responds. Another man pats me down and sends me on my way with a toothy grin.

The visitor's area is nothing but a square concrete floor with a corrugated iron roof. The temperature is stifling, and not helped by the number of people inside. Visitors mixing with inmates, who come and go as they please. The men with wives and girlfriends try and take the corners and the walls. Larger groups get pushed to the middle. There are reed matts if you're lucky. The concentrated noise of people talking is deafening. I can make out some members of the Bali Nine. Andrew Chan is sitting in a prayer circle holding hands.

I palm some rupiah to one of the guards. "Paul" I say. "Aussie Paul". "He's a friend of mine". Its some time before a confused face appears. He looks in better shape than I thought he'd be. Friendly, a little weather beaten, wary. I shake his hand, we sit down on the concrete and I explain why I'm here. Paul Conibeer who is in Bali's notorious Kerobokan prison Paul Conibeer who is in Bali's notorious Kerobokan prison Source: Supplied

Paul Conibeer's case defies belief. He's just spent one year in Kerobokan prison, eating handfuls of rice at meal times, and bunking down shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of Indonesians on concrete floors, for what amounts to an unpaid hotel bill in Kuta.

A dispute over that bill, led to police involvement, and once he was in custody he claims police demanded bribe money to release him, a figure that escalated to a point where he simply couldn't pay. He took a chance on the legal system, and it came down hard. One year in Kerobokan.

Using a smuggled mobile phone Paul has documented his time behind the walls. The drugs, the weapons, the wild parties, the brutal enforcement of prison rules. The men murdered before his eyes.

Previously the only look inside these walls has been stage managed by prison guards. Painting, dancing, family time. Paul's account, backed up by photos and video, is the real hotel K. A look behind the scenes through the eyes of an Australian inmate just trying to survive. It is at times, hard to comprehend that such a place exists.

Don't get me wrong. As a keen surfer I love Indonesia. Have travelled there more than half a dozen times. Bali, Nusa Lembongan, Lombok, Sumbawa, Sumatra, Nias. It's a beautiful place with beautiful people. And the documentary that airs this Sunday tells the whole story of the place they call the island of the gods, not just the dangers. And Australians are not totally blameless either. You only need to spend a few days in Kuta to realise that drunk and out of control Aussies are contributing to the problem. The Balinese are generally a gentle people with a spiritual and religious culture. Marauding groups of loud obnoxious boozed up Aussies don't help their opinion of us and could be partly responsible for what appears to be a growing malevolence towards us.

What is certain is the statistics and numbers don't lie. It's become a dangerous place for travelling Australians. Murders and rapes that go unsolved, assaults and robberies that leave people disfigured and scarred. A place where magic mushrooms and speed are perfectly legal, but a justice system that will sentence you to 20 years jail for a bag of weed. A place where, like it or not, police corruption is part of the system, and Australian authorities have very little influence. This, despite an increase in the money we give them, to well over 600 million dollars a year.

It's long been our playground, our favourite holiday destination, but have we loved this place too much? To me it's still paradise, it's just that now, I see a lot more than the surf and the palm trees.

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Indonesia’s President has significantly boosted Schapelle Corby’s chance of parole by apparently clearing away the biggest remaining hurdle — her immigration status.

A new regulation signed on April 16 but still poorly understood in Indonesia means Corby’s lawyers can go ahead and lodge the convicted cannabis smuggler’s parole application.

They have been delaying because of worries that the Immigration Department would not allow her to serve out her sentence while living with sister Mercedes and brother-in-law Wayan Widyartha in Bali.

Her sentence does not end until 2017.

But the new regulation says foreigners who are serving “prison time” do not need a stay permit to live in the country. A footnote describes prison time as including time spent on parole.

After President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono granted the convicted cannabis smuggler a five-year sentence reduction last May, Corby has served enough of her sentence (two-thirds) to be eligible for parole.

But her family has not yet applied because several hurdles have remained in the way.

Apart from the immigration issue, another hurdle has been the requirement under a different regulation (signed last November) that she be a “justice collaborator” — helping police bust other criminals — and also express guilt and remorse for her crimes. As she has never agreed that she committed any crime, Corby cannot express remorse for it.

However, the larger concern has always been Immigration, which must provide a letter to the parole board clarifying her status.

In Indonesia’s arcane law-making environment, the new regulation was buried in article 48-5 of the immigration law passed in May 2011.

However, laws are further clarified by government regulations which are passed to enact them and, in this case, the regulation did not achieve presidential sign-off until April 16.

Article 115-1 of the regulation states that a foreigner serving prison time does not require a stay permit, and in the explanation of that, “prison time” includes specific leave, assimilation (time out of prison towards the end of a sentence to help in the adjustment process) and parole.

Corby’s lawyer Iskandar Nawing was initially blindsided by the new regulation when approached by Fairfax Media on Tuesday.

"I will have to find out more about it first," he said. "I will have to study it before I can comment or act on it."

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade also said Australian officials were “seeking to clarify with Indonesian authorities the implications of the new immigration regulations for her application”.

The regulation comes two months after Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin, who is also in charge of immigration, met and shook hands with Corby in Kerobokan prison and said that, while her parole faced difficulties, some were “technical” in nature.

Australia has supported Corby’s parole application, even to the extent of providing an unprecedented guarantee of her good behaviour if she is free and living in Bali. The family of Mercedes has also provided the required guarantee letter that she will live with them.

Schapelle Corby was convicted in 2004 of smuggling 4.2kg of marijuana into Bali in her boogie-board bag, and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment. She has maintained her innocence.

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remy hii Remy Hii (third from right) with the cast of Better Man. Picture: Zoe Nauman Source: National Features

REMY Hii delivers the performance of the year in the most gripping TV drama of the year in SBS miniseries Better Man.

Hii, a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, is a revelation as drug trafficker Van Nguyen.

And it's a story Hii knows well, because he was studying human rights at the Queensland University of Technology in 2005 - the year Nguyen was sent to the gallows.

In 2002, 25-year-old Vietnamese-Australian Nguyen was caught with almost 400g of heroin at Singapore's Changi airport.

Human rights campaigners, the Vatican and the Australian Government's pleas for clemency were ignored and Nguyen was hanged.

Hii leads an all-star cast, with Bryan Brown, Claudia Karvan and David Wenham in support roles. The talent behind the camera is also impressive. Khoa Do is writer-director and Jason Stephens (Devil's Dust, Killing Time) is executive producer.

Q: This must have been a difficult role to win.

A: When I read the script, I just knew it was the one. I shot two scenes at home in my living room. Then there were three months of auditions and meetings with the director.

Q: Your human rights studies must have been a huge help in preparing for the role.

A: They were. I was born in South-East Asia so I know how hard line they are with these things. Also, I was aware of how differently the story was portrayed compared to Schapelle Corby's in the media. I'm not just talking about racial issues. This was an Australian on Death Row. I became a member of Amnesty International and am really passionate about human rights and justice.

Q: Have you met members of Nguyen's family?

A: No. It was their call. The director had been in touch with his mother. I think it would have been way too hard (for the mother to meet Hii).

Q: Is there added pressure in playing a real character?

A: There's always a burden. You want to treat everything with respect.

Q: What have you been up to since filming Better Man?

A: I've got a contract on Neighbours that has been great.


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Rachel Dougall Rachel Dougall of Britain waits inside a holding cell before her sentencing at a court in Denpasar on Indonesia's resort island of Bali on December 20, 2012. Source: AFP

A BRITISH woman has described her ordeal in Bali's notorious Kerobokan Prison, the same jail where convicted Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby and the Bali Nine are serving time.

Rachel Dougall said she suffered savaged beatings within days of beginning a year-long sentence for drug-related crimes.

Dougall, 40, told the Daily Mail that she had a nervous breakdown after being locked up with drug addicts, HIV-positive inmates and sexually aggressive lesbians in a tiny cell at the prison, nicknamed "Hotel K".

"Most of the women were on drugs virtually every day," she said. "If you had money the guards would get you anything you wanted. Inmates in the men’s prison next door even paid prostitutes for overnight visits."

The women’s unit of Kerobokan where Dougall was locked up also houses Corby, who was sentenced to 20 years in 2005 after she was caught trying to smuggle 4.2 kilos of cannabis into the country in her boogie-board bag. She has always maintained her innocence.

According to friends and family, Corby’s experience in the prison has led to her developing a mental illness. Since a judge ruled her sentence cut to 15 years, leading to the possibility of parole, she is reportedly doing much better. She is due to get out 2017.

Also held there are the so-called Bali Nine. The eight men and one woman were convicted in 2005 of attempting to traffic 8.3 kilos of heroin from Bali to Australia. Two of them, Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan, still face death sentences and have appealed to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for clemency.

Corby in cell Schapelle Corby in her cell at Kerobokan Prison, Bali.

Dougall was arrested after fellow Briton Lindsay Sandiford was caught at Bali’s airport on flight from Bangkok carrying a suitcase full of cocaine on May 19 last year.

The 57-year-old grandmother’s case made headlines after the judge ordered she be put to death via a firing squad.

Following her arrest Sandiford told police she had been forced to move the drugs after threats were made to her family by a drugs cartel. She implicated Dougall and two other men, one of them Dougall’s partner, 44-year-old Julian Ponder, as her accomplices.

The other three were handed lesser sentences. Sandiford’s case has led to widespread outrage about Indonesia’s harsh sentencing regime.

However, Dougall claimed to the Mail that Sandiford was "pure evil" and "not the innocent she would like people to believe".

"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."

Kerobokan Kerobokan jail in Bali. Picture: Lukman

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