New push to free convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby
- CLEMENTINE CUNEO
- The Daily Telegraph
- August 04, 201212:00AM
Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby. Picture: AFP Source:AFP
CONVICTED drug smuggler Schapelle Corby could be released on parole in just two weeks, if a letter from the federal government supporting her bid is viewed favourably in Indonesia.
Corby's family has welcomed the letter from the Australian government as "great and exciting news".
The government yesterday confirmed a letter supporting Corby's parole application was being prepared. If it is met favourably by Indonesian authorities, Corby could be eligible to apply for release in just two weeks.
The Department of Foreign Affairs refused to say whether the letter would provide a guarantee that Corby will adhere to a strict set of conditions that would likely be imposed for her parole.
"It would be premature and inappropriate to discuss the details," a DFAT spokesman said. A Corby family spokeswoman said: "This is great and exciting news which we are thankful for." It is understood Corby, 35, would live with her sister Mercedes in Bali to serve her parole time.
Corby, who was caught in 2004 attempting to import 4.1kg of marijuana into Bali in her bodyboard bag, will be eligible to apply for parole if a recommendation that another six months be shaved from her sentence is approved.
Her 20-year sentence was slashed by five years in May after she won an appeal for clemency from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. A fresh recommendation for another six-month cut, if approved as expected, and combined with more than two years in remissions she has already received, will mean Corby would have served two-thirds of that sentence. Under Indonesian law, prisoners who have served two-thirds of their sentence are eligible to apply for parole.
Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, the governor of Bali's notorious Kerobokan jail where Corby has been imprisoned for eight years, said a guarantee would be crucial to a successful parole application.
"There are stages that must be gone through like hearing by correctional observer . . . guarantee from the family, and if she has undergone two-thirds of sentence or not, as well as a guarantee from the (Australian) embassy," Mr Wiratna said.
If she fails to win parole, the earliest Corby could walk free from Kerobokan jail is mid-2015, so long as she continues to win the maximum remissions each year.
The development comes amid resentment in some quarters in Indonesia after a clemency decision in May.