Jakarta. A top government official confirmed on Wednesday that Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby was set to be freed on parole as soon as this week.
“Some 1,700 inmates will be paroled, and Corby is indeed one of them,” Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin said in Jakarta.
He added that the letter authorizing Corby’s release would be signed within the next three days, after which she could leave Kerobokan Penitentiary in Bali, where she has been held since her arrest in late 2004 for attempting to smuggle 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into the country.
Amir also denied that the government had given preferential treatment to the 36-year-old, who has seen her sentence of 20 years, handed down in May 2005, slashed by 27 months’ worth of remissions and a five-year cut upon appeal for presidential clemency.
“Corby did not receive any special treatment. As long as she complied to the policies and received a recommendation from the parole board, she has a right [to early release], in line with existing policies,” the minister said.
“When she earns that, I will finalize it. There is no special treatment for anyone. All the 1,700 [inmates] are being processed together.”
A Justice Ministry spokesman said on Monday that the decision for Corby’s parole had been handed over to the minister after authorities in Jakarta heard her case on Thursday last week.
Once released, Corby would have to remain in Bali for the remainder of her sentence and report regularly to authorities. She would live with her sister.
Her imminent parole, bogged down in months of bureaucratic wrangling, comes in the wake of the early release last month of another foreign drug convict, Frenchman Michael Blanc. Blanc was one of the few foreigners to have been freed on parole in recent years.