CONVICTED drug smuggler Schapelle Corby is expected to apply for parole after Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono signed legislation designed to clarify the position of foreigners within the country’s legal system.
The legislation, which was signed last month and has yet to be tested in an Indonesian court, states that foreigners that are serving “prison time” in Indonesia do not need a permit to stay in the country. “Prison time” has been defined in the legislation to include an individual’s time spent on parole.
Ms Corby’s legal team had previously been reluctant to apply for parole, concerned that the Indonesian Immigration Department would not allow the Gold Coast woman to live with her sister Mercedes and brother-in-law Wayan Widyartha at their Bali home. Ms Corby became eligible for parole last May after President Yudhoyono granted her a five-year sentence reduction, meaning that she had served two-thirds of her sentence.
Ms Corby’s Indonesian lawyer Iskander Nawing was unaware of the changes to the country’s parole regulations until made aware of the issue by Fairfax Media earlier this week. Mr Nawing said: “I will have to find out more about it first. I will have to study it before I can comment or act on it.”
The Australian government has supported Ms Corby’s parole application, guaranteeing on behalf of the nation that she would have good behaviour if released into Indonesian society to serve out the remainder of her sentence. A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said that the government was “seeking to clarify with Indonesian authorities the implications of the new immigration regulations for her application.”
Ms Corby’s application for parole faces other challenges due to a regulation signed into law last November that requires parolees to express remorse for the crime that they had been incarcerated for. Ms Corby continues to deny involvement in smuggling cannabis into Indonesia, and therefore is unable to express the contrition required.
During her original trial, Ms Corby told the presiding judges: “I cannot admit to a crime I did not commit. And to the judges, my life at the moment is in your hands, but I would prefer if my life was in your hearts. And Your Honour, I ask of you to show compassion, to find me innocent, to send me home.”
Ms Corby was arrested by Balinese police in 2004 after customs officials discovered 4.2 kilograms of cannabis in her body board bag. She was convicted of drug smuggling in 2005 and sentenced to a 20 year jail sentence, reduced by the Indonesian president last year after an appeal for clemency on the grounds of mental illness.