DEBORAH Cassrels' story (``Bali prisoners `forced to sign' '', 15/2) shows just how sensitive the latest Kerobokan Prison chief, Siswanto, is to material in my book Hotel Kerobokan. Through my own jail sources, I've been hearing for weeks now that Siswanto had been threatening inmates with losing any chance of having their sentences reduced if they did not deny my account of life in Kerobokan including drug dealing and guards taking bribes for favours. Contrary to the source quoted by Cassrels that ``this stuff hasn't happened for two years'', I speak regularly to inmates on their mobile phones and this stuff is definitely still happening.
Bali prisoners `forced to sign'
15 February 2010
ELEVEN Australian and other Western inmates in Bali's Kerobokan prison feared retribution if they did not sign a statement repudiating negative accounts of life in the jail.
The inmates were asked to sign the five-point statement after the prison chief, Siswanto, held a meeting on Friday to deny claims in the recent book Hotel Kerobokan by Australian Kathryn Bonella, and in Australian media reports, according to a source at the jail.
The meeting was attended by guards and inmates including the Bali Nine Australian drug smugglers and Schapelle Corby. The five points they were asked to sign included: that prostitutes did not enter the jail, drug dealing did not occur, guards did not take money for favours, money was not paid in return for better and less crowded cells, and the cells were not dirty or smelly.
"We were not forced to sign, we were asked, but it would be absolute suicide to say no. You'd have to be stupid. Everyone signed," the source said. "That book (Hotel Kerobokan) was true, but that stuff hasn't happened for two years.
"The jail has been cleaned up, gangs have been moved out, people aren't dying and they're not being beaten up. Stuff still happens but it's not as bad."
Asked what would happen if the inmates refused to sign the statement, the source said there would be retribution and they could be moved to a tougher jail.