Schapelle Corby needs to do an interview with the Seven Network because it’s the only way she can “get her life back” and protect her from other journalists, according to sister Mercedes.
However, a two-page letter plus statement hand-delivered by Mercedes Corby and her husband Wayan Widyartha to the Indonesian law and human rights ministry, denies there will be any payment to Schapelle for the interview, saying, “media reports about the payment are completely wrong”.
According to the letter, the interview — which Indonesian authorities have banned her from doing — will enhance Schapelle’s welfare by relieving her of the other media following her.
“We feel such an interview is much needed by Schapelle, so she can focus on her freedom and get her life back,” the undated letter says.
“We also state herewith if an interview is not granted for a long time, it will affect the health of Schapelle Leigh Corby (client) due to being continuously pursued by journalists,” says an accompanying formal statement from Mr Wayan, and Mercedes and Schapelle Corby.
Mercedes Corby and Mr Wayan delivered the letter and statement to the ministry building in Jakarta on Thursday but Law and Human Rights minister Amir Syamsuddin refused to meet them. Then on Friday, he publicly rejected their plea, saying, “It would be good if [Corby] realises her status as a convict”
The letter says to Indonesian officials: “As you have seen, a lot of media are interested in covering Schapelle, and this will not stop until an interview is conducted.
“We have a journalist we can trust, and when Schapelle is ready to speak, we want her to do an interview. We don’t trust other media because they often twist facts and often lie … Schapelle has suffered a lot of pain and trauma from the media. Since the day she was released, they were climbing the walls and roofs to get candid photos, pretending to be family members, and camping out in front of the gate …
“There’s nothing else Schapelle wants except to get back to her life, but that won’t happen until an interview is conducted. The media wants to hear Schapelle’s voice, and she’ll always be haunted until they get it.
“She however is not yet entirely mentally healthy, and we believe that, by having a one on one interview conducted by a trusted journalist, someone she is comfortable with, is the only way to do it.”
The letter says “the selected journalist” who was also not named but is veteran TV personality Mike Willesee, who is encamped inside a luxury Bali compound with the Corby family, would “fully understand Schapelle’s parole conditions and fully respects the Indonesian government”.
It says members from the Bali Parole Board would be invited to pre-interview Willesee, and sit in on his interview, which would be “controlled”, recorded, and not broadcast live.
“We say once again that the interview won’t be negative about Indonesia,” the letter says.
Mike Willesee, who remains at the Bali resort with the Corby family, refused to comment on the latest developments early on Saturday, saying only to reporters: "I can't help you today".
The letter even flags the issues that would be raised: “family support, mental health, future plans, family relations and our reunion after the release, how she survived in the prison, and her feelings when her freedom was taken, her life before the arrest in 2004, the loss of her father, what happened at the Australian airport on the day she departed, and thanking all her supporters”.
Journalists were also blamed for Corby still living inside the Sentosa Seminyak villas instead of the family house listed on her parole documents.
If she was living there, Mercedes and Wayan say, it would be “inconvenient” for the neighbours.
Mercedes Corby and Mr Wayan first delivered the letter to the parole board in Bali, then travelled to Jakarta to plead their case with miniser Mr Amir.
But he said Corby was “a convict whose parole was granted, but it was given under certain conditions, one of which is she … does not create restlessness within the society.”
“Whatever letter was submitted, Corby must realise that the coverage about her has become a really big thing,” Mr Amir said.
“It would be good if she realised, and her own family realised, that they should not let Bapas conclude that the condition to revoke the parole has been fulfilled because there is restlessness.”
The rebuff comes on top of a similar comment by Ketut Artha, the head of Bali’s parole board, Bapas.
Mr Ketut has said he feels his job is “at stake” if he allows the interview to go ahead.
The story Schapelle will be 'haunted' until she has the opportunity to speak: Mercedes Corby first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.