Tue, Jun 28, 2005 - Page 5 News List

Jakarta receives new threatening letter


Indonesia's foreign affairs ministry received a letter from Australia containing white powder as public outrage in the country continues to simmer over the case of a 27-year-old Australian national sentenced to 20 years in jail for drug smuggling, local media reports said yesterday.

Ministry spokesperson Yuri Thamrin said officials were still waiting for the results of police tests to conclude whether or not the substance found in Jakarta was dangerous, the local state-run news agency Antara said.

The letter was received days after the Indonesian embassy in Canberra received it's third powder-containing parcel within a month, ministry officials said.

The Indonesia government has condemned previous parcels, which forced the closure of its Australian embassy and quarantine of embassy staff, as "terrorist acts with an aim to create restlessness," and Indonesian police officers were sent to Australia to investigate the incidents.

Australian Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years in jail on May 27 after Bali's Denpasar court found her guilty of trying to smuggle 4.1kg of marijuana to the Indonesian island last October.

The verdict, widely covered in the Australian media, sparked outrage in her home country, but little empathy from Indonesians, many of whom see the Australian as guilty and think the emotional outpouring by Australia shows a double standard.

Australian officials are working to temper potential political fallout from the case, both at home and in Indonesia, where they are still trying to improve relations since they were strained during Australia's involvement in the independence struggle of East Timor.

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