Schapelle Corby Faces A Stark Risk Of A TV Interview Sending Her Back To Jail, Flat Broke

Schapelle CorbySchapelle Corby, with her face covered, reports for a parole hearing before being released in Denpasar, Bali. Photo Putu Sayoga/Getty Images

The warnings couldn’t be clearer from authorities in Indonesia and – as of today – Australia, to Schapelle Corby: don’t sit for that interview.

It hasn’t been enough for Corby that an Indonesian minister has said it “would be wise” if she decided against it, because it could land her back in Kerobokan prison to serve out the rest of her sentence for drug trafficking.

This morning’s daylight doorknock by the friendly folks from the Australian Federal Police at the headquarters of Channel 7 is a warning that any interview deal with the media will have cops crawling all over it, using every trick in the book to stop the money reaching a bank account.

Let’s leave the reasons for Channel 7 offering a huge sum to a drug dealer as a matter for the network.

Why would Corby now risk an interview that could land her back in jail with no money?

On the basis of the warnings from Indonesian authorities alone, Corby would be taking a huge gamble. But the huge amount of money involved – the figure most often mentioned is $2 million but the network says it’s less – at least makes the risk vaguely understandable in logic, even if most sensible people would never risk it for another five years (Corby’s remaining sentence) in Kerobokan.

The issue Indonesia has, remember, is not simply about the payment. The country’s deputy Law and Human Rights Minister, Denny Indrayana, said it was “because the content might invite polemics and it’s possible that it creates unease among society”.

So this will come down to a matter of judgment from the Indonesian authorities. Even with the best advice she could buy on how to choose her words, the mere act of sitting for the interview could land her back in prison.

Which brings us back to the trade-off she’d be making: money. Even if she and her family did find some way of squirreling it into an account or an asset somewhere – anywhere – there’s still the risk it would be confiscated, at time of payment or afterwards. As the AFP made clear this morning they’re literally not going to sit back on this one.

Maybe her advisors would point to how the proceeds of crime case against David Hicks was dropped as a cause for hope.

But the alacrity of police on the matter is most certainly not.

Doing the interview could leave Corby with nothing. No money, no sympathy, and the best years of her life wasted in prison.

Issues of payment aside, I think an interview would be fascinating. I think the country would be gripped by it.

But from her perspective it would be a galactically stupid risk.

* Update 8pm: Today’s developments have shaken out an even lower estimate on the price of a Corby interview. It’s even less worth the risk.

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