Matthew Norman in Bali's Kerobokan jail. Photo: Jason Childs
Four of the Bali nine drug smugglers have been devastated by the news that their applications for a reduction in sentence from life imprisonment to 20 years may have been rejected.
Martin Stephens and Matthew Norman both told Fairfax Media inside Kerobokan prison on Saturday that they had been told their application had been either rejected or delayed for months.
But in another indication that Schapelle Corby's parole application is close, Fairfax Media has learnt that her sister, Mercedes, has been making inquiries about the payment of the $11,000 penalty attached to the sentence.
Schapelle Corby is seeking parole. Photo: Getty Images
Prison sentences in Indonesia often carry a financial penalty, and failing to pay it would translate into an extra six months in prison for Corby.
Corby has cleared a number of other administrative barriers recently, and an agency of the Indonesian correction system has confirmed that, after inspection, Mercedes' Bali home is suitable for Corby to live in while serving out her sentence on parole.
Kerobokan was opened to the media to watch prisoners perform in Indonesian National Day celebrations in Bali. Prison authorities confirmed afterwards that Corby had been recommended for a six-month reprieve from her sentence for good behaviour.
A large backlog of recommendations to the Director-General of Corrections in Jakarta means the cut has not yet been confirmed, but it is expected to be within months.
Corby did not attend the function.
A male prisoner said Corby was now so paranoid about the media that she refused to leave her cell, even to take out the rubbish, in case a journalist was watching or a fellow prisoner was trying to snap a photo to sell it.
She only left her cell for consular visits and visits from her sister Mercedes, the prisoner said.
Bali nine prisoner Renae Lawrence has been recommended for a six-month reduction for good behaviour and a further two months for being a prison leader, but is subject to the same delay as Corby in having it confirmed.
But Bali nine members Stephens, Norman, Si Yi Chen and Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen face spending the rest of their lives in the jail if they cannot have their sentences reduced.
The Australian consulate in Bali has informed them that their applications have not been approved. It's unclear if they are the victim of the same backlog of cases in Jakarta, or if it's an outright rejection.
Norman said he had retained lawyers to try to find out. Stephens expressed his extreme frustration - the application has been rejected twice already.
"We've been here nine years already," he said. "Renae [Lawrence] gets her remission, Corby gets her remission, and just none of us on life and death gets remission or reduction.
"There is a chance it will still happen. I have faith in the Indonesian government and the Australian government, and I'm sure they're doing the best they can. It gets difficult sometimes but you've just got to roll with the punches, I suppose."
According to Matthew Norman: "I've tried my hardest to do everything the jail asks. I've set up programs, organised sponsorship … I don't get a cent out of it or any privileges, and I'd be devastated if it was all for nothing again.''