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Corby guilty on drugs charges

Corby gets support from her mom.
Organized Crime
Capital Punishment

(CNN) -- Accused Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been found guilty by an Indonesian court of importing marijuana into Bali.

The panel of three judges sentenced her to 20 years in jail, and fined her 10 million rupiahs ($10,700).

Judge Linton Sirait said Corby, a 27-year-old from Queensland state, had "legally and convincingly carried out a crime" by unlawfully importing 4.1 kilograms of the drug.

Appearing to pray the 27-year old broke down in tears, but largely maintained her composure as her fate became clear.

Amid chaotic scenes, Corby embraced her family before being led from the court under tight security.

The judges dismissed key evidence prepared by her defense team, including that of Australia prisoner John Ford who backed Corby's claim that she was an unwitting "drug mule."

The judges found Corby's defense team could not prove if there was another person responsible for the drugs.

Security had been stepped up around the Bali courthouse Friday morning with more than 100 officers guarding the building amid concerns of a terror threat, as Australian and foreign media scramble to cover the verdict.

Already the case has triggered a series of threats against Indonesian diplomatic missions in Australia and Indonesia.

As she awaited judgment earlier today Corby, through a spokeswoman, asked fellow Australians to pray for her and was reported to be anxious but confident about the outcome.

"Australia, today is my day. Please pray for me. I pray for justice every day," Corby said, according to a report in Australian newspaper, The Daily Telegraph.

"I want to go home."

Corby, who has always maintained her innocence, was arrested at Bali's Denpasar Airport on October 8 last year after drugs were found in one of her bags upon her arrival.

During her trial Corby maintained that she was the victim of a drug trafficking operation involving baggage handlers at Australian airports.

She has also denied prosecution claims that she admitted the drugs were hers, arguing that the translation of her statement was wrong.

Later, Corby's defense was buoyed by news that Australian Federal Police and Qantas Airways revealed they were investigating the role of Qantas baggage handlers in a cocaine smuggling operation.

The Australian government subsequently wrote a letter to the chief judge regarding the investigation, but it remains unclear if it had any influence on the verdict.

Corby's defense also raised concerns in the court about the failure of police to fingerprint the plastic bag containing the drugs or videotape the search.

In addition, a request to have the marijuana tested to reveal its source was denied.

Her case also faced problems when her financial backer, Australian businessman Ron Bakir, claimed the prosecution would ask for a lighter sentence if they were paid a bribe. He later withdrew the remarks and apologized in writing to the prosecution.

The case comes at a time of improving relations between Australia and Indonesia.

Australian Prime Minister John Howard said he would not interfere with the Indonesian justice system, but hoped the court would deliver a "true and fair and just verdict."

The Australian Government this week said the two countries had discussed a possible prisoner swap plan for Corby should she be found guilty.

Under the plan, Corby would spend her time incarcerated in an Australian jail.

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