Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby set for parole from Bali jail

After eight years in Bali jail, Australian may be released to live on island and be home by 2015

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 17 August, 2013, 4:24pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 August, 2013, 4:31am

The corrections board on the Indonesian resort island of Bali said yesterday it had recommended jailed Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby for parole.

The board said the 36-year-old should be released from Kerobokan jail to serve out the rest of her sentence on the island living with her sister.

Bali corrections board chief Ketut Artha told reporters the recommendation had been made to the justice ministry on Friday, in part based on Corby's "good behaviour".

"All that is left for her parole to be granted is a decision from the justice minister," Artha said.

While he said the decision could be made in "a month or so", justice ministry director general of corrections Nugroho, who goes by one name, said it would likely take longer.

"With foreigners, cases usually take two to three months, possibly longer," Nugroho said.

Corby was handed a 20-year sentence in 2005 for smuggling 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into Bali the previous year.

Having received several remissions and a five-year sentence cut from the president, Corby is currently due for release in March 2017.

If she continues to receive the usual sentence reductions during her parole period, she could be free to return home to Australia by mid-2015.

But Corby's name was not on the list of 202 inmates at Kerobokoan prison whose remission was approved yesterday. Sentences are routinely cut to mark Indonesia's August 17 independence day.

Warden I Gusti Ngurah Wiratna said he had recommended a six-month reduction, and that it "could still be approved" by the justice ministry in the coming days.

If granted parole, Corby would still be bound to the island and obliged to report regularly to authorities.

Corby has gained the required letters of support from the prison, the head of the village where she would live in Bali, her family and the Australian government.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr threw in his support after the board made its recommendation, telling Sky News he had been "encouraging the minister to do the compassionate thing" and that he hoped the minister would take a "sympathetic view".

"Our view is ... Schapelle Corby, whatever her offence, has paid a price for it and deserves quick, fair consideration of this parole application, for which we provided a guarantee," Carr said.

She has been eligible for parole for around one year, but has held off lodging an application as authorities mulled the conditions of her release.

Renae Lawrence - part of a group of Australian drug traffickers known as the Bali Nine jailed at Kerobokan - was also missing from the remissions list.

Wiratna said he recommended a six-month cut for Lawrence and 11 other foreign prisoners.

British drugs convicts Julian Ponder and Paul Beales were given recommendations for two-month cuts from their jail terms of six and four years respectively.

They were jailed in connection with British drug trafficker Lindsay Sandiford, who is on death row.

Indonesia enforces stiff penalties for drug trafficking, including life imprisonment and death.