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Minister blocks Corbys TV interview

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Law and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin rejected Tuesday night a request from Schapelle Leigh Corby’s family to conduct an exclusive interview with Australia’s Channel 7 television station.

The rejection put an end to the planned interview for which, it was alleged, Corby would receive substantial financial compensation.

“They [Corby’s family] need to understand that she is still a convict that has been granted parole. She surely knows the conditions attached to that status, and I think she should avoid doing anything that may cause uneasiness or social jealousy,” he told journalists in Nusa Dua.

Amir confirmed that he had received a letter from Corby’s family, signed by her brother-in-law, Wayan Widyartha, and her sister, Mercedes Corby.

“I don’t need to reveal the entire contents [of the letter] here. But, the point is they asked to be given permission for the interview,” he said.

Amir said that the interview had the potential to cause disquiet among the general public, as well as being perceived [by the other parole recipients] as unfair.

“The family denied the compensation that it was believed Corby would receive, but the issue has already become public and could cause uneasiness among the public,” he stressed.

Corby, the Australian convicted drug smuggler who was released on parole on Feb. 10, had reportedly been offered an exclusive interview with Channel 7 of Australia. Australian media reported that the television station was prepared to pay Corby between A$2 million (US$1.8 million) and A$3 million for the interview.

The television station also reportedly paid all Corby’s costs during her stay at a luxury villa at the Sentosa resort in Seminyak following her release from prison. The station also arranged for a group of private security guards to escort Corby on the day of her release to the villa, as well as during her stay at the villa.

Earlier last week, Corby’s family sent a letter to the head of the Denpasar Correctional Board, asking permission to conduct the interview. He, however, rejected the request, prompting Corby’s family to write to Amir.

In the two-page letter, plus a separate statement, the family said that Corby needed the interview to regain her life.

“We hope that you can understand that Corby has suffered trauma due to the media exposure. Ever since her release, journalists have climbed the villa’s walls and onto the roof to get pictures of her and camped outside the villa’s fence. But this interview is not only for Schapelle; all of our family members have been followed and pursued. A week before Schapelle was released, we were pursued by the media, as well as our three children,” the letter stated.

In the letter, Widyarta and Mercedes reasoned that the interview would end the media craze.

“The media want to hear from Schapelle, and she will be continuously haunted until they get something […] We believe that by doing the interview with a journalist whom she trusts and is comfortable with, is one way to do this.”

However, the letter did not change the minister’s stance. “I dont need to give an opinion [about the letter]. But the Law and Human Rights Ministry has its own considerations,” Amir stressed.

Regarding Corby’s decision to stay at a luxury villa after her release, Amir said the ministry had been informed that she would stay there temporarily. “I think it is only temporary, she is seeking serenity. As long as it does not cause resentment in the community, it’s no problem,” Amir said.

“If she lives in her brother-in-law’s house, it may cause a disturbance to her neighbors. We also need to consider that. I think now is a time of transition, a time for adjustment. I think this is not a permanent arrangement,” he added.

Previously, Mercedes denied that Corby would be paid for the interview. “Recent media reports about a payment to Schapelle for an interview are completely wrong. The sums being reported are ridiculous,” Mercedes said in a video sent to journalists.

Last changed: Fri Jun 02, 2017 at 6:02 pm

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