"The guards could not get to us to open our cells. We weren’t sure if we would be shot."
With inmates running riot and Kerobokan’s buildings up in flames, Schapelle Corby’s hell-hole home just got more frightening.
H uddled in her overcrowded cell, smoke and flames lapping all around her, with live bullets ricocheting in the darkness, Schapelle Corby screamed out for help – but no-one was listening. Over three days, described by those inside the notorious Kerobokan prison in Bali as “living hell”, anarchy ruled as prisoners rioted over the shockingly overcrowded conditions, leaving inmates in fear for their lives, without electricity, water, food or protection.
“We were locked in our cells throughout the night. It felt like we were ducks in the middle of a pond surrounded by hunters,” says Renae Lawrence, one of the so called “Bali Nine” – the Australians convicted of attempting to smuggle more than 8kg of heroin into Australia from Bali in 2005, and paying for it with entences ranging from 15 years to death.
“The guards could not get to us to open our cells. We weren’t sure if we would be shot.” The other Australian “Bali Nine” inmates, all male, were housed in a maximum security tower located near the burning offices. No doubt saving their lives in the process, guards managed to move them to a safer area of the prison. As prisoners hung from the prison towers, throwing rocks and furniture into the street below, rioters set fire to the administrative offices of the jail, burning nearly everything inside, including documents, money and an armory containing firearms and ammunition.
Schapelle, already in a dangerously fragile emotional state, and the 130 other inmates in the female wing were helpless as they huddled in their cells, unable to get out or be reached, while chaos ruled. Terrified, they could only call to each other through the bars of their locked doors, not knowing if the flames would leap the low wall that separates them from the main prison. Schapelle’s brother-in-law (her sister Mercedes’ husband), Wayan, was seen pacing frantically outside the prison, desperate for a sign she was safe.
Read more about plus see exclusive pictures of Schapelle and the riots in this week's Woman's Day, on sale Monday February 27, 2012.