Date: May 23 2012
SCHAPELLE CORBY'S plea for clemency to the Indonesian President has been approved, although the drug smuggler could remain in a Bali prison for years.
Corby has already been told her 20-year sentence will be reduced by five years.
A prison source said Corby looked ''like her usual self'' after her sister, Mercedes, delivered the news in a visit yesterday.
Corby's family have launched a bid for the 34-year-old to be released this year on parole for good behaviour. She would stay with her sister Mercedes and her family in Bali.
It would be unprecedented for a foreigner to be granted parole.
While parolees must stay in Bali to be supervised, foreigners must be deported as soon as their sentence ends, so it is not clear under Indonesian law if she could legally be granted parole.
The former Queensland beauty student has served eight years in Kerobokan penitentiary for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of cannabis into Bali from Australia in 2004. Her lawyers had asked for a full remission of her sentence.
She has also been accumulating remissions - which have reduced her sentence - so she may end up serving just 11 of 20 years, earning release in 2015.
Early reports that Corby could be released on parole this year and remain in Bali with Mercedes could not be confirmed. But the Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, was sceptical last night, saying it was likely to be years until her release.
Corby urged the Indonesian President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, to consider her deteriorating mental condition when she launched her clemency appeal in 2010.
Dr Yudhoyono's response was relayed via letter to the governor of Kerobokan on Monday.
The clemency is very unusual for a drug smuggler and a person who has never admitted guilt.
It comes as relations warm between the countries, with a series of high-level visits and recent speculation by the Indonesian Foreign Minister, Marty Natalegawa, of a prisoner exchange program being set up.
Indonesia's Justice Minister had also linked Corby's case with dozens of its underage citizens in Australian detention for crewing people-smuggling vessels. Several Indonesian youths have been released in recent weeks.
But the Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, last night said no deals had been struck. ''The decision about minors in Australian jails was made because of the merits of the case … the two things aren't linked,'' he said.
Senator Carr praised the decision to grant clemency.
"I welcome the Indonesian President's decision to grant this reduction. The Australian Government has consistently supported Ms Corby's application for clemency on humanitarian grounds."
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