february 10, 2014
Schapelle Corby has left Kerobokan prison in Bali after nine years behind bars for smuggling marijuana into the country in a boogie board.
Up to 100 police arrived at the jail earlier today to line the roads around the prison.
Corby emerged from the prison wearing a cap, dressed in black and carrying a small bag.
Police shielded her as she pushed through a media crush to get to a police van that had been reversed close to the prison door.
The van, also carrying other prisoners, left with a police escort.
Corby, now 36, was sentenced to 20 years’ jail in 2005.
Last Friday, she was finally granted parole after becoming eligible 18 months ago.
The prison’s governor, Farid Junaedi, told reporters in Indonesian that Corby was still a prisoner and would now begin her parole.
He described her as nervous because of the intense media scrutiny.
In Queensland, her mother Roseleigh Rose and family and friends celebrated with champagne and dancing.
Ms Rose is expected to go to Bali to see her daughter “when she is needed”, Channel Seven reported.
Indonesian lawmakers and an anti-drugs group expressed anger yesterday at Jakarta’s decision to parole Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby, as she prepared to leave prison in Bali after nine years behind bars.
The early release for the 36-year-old, who has always maintained her innocence since her 2004 arrest for smuggling marijuana into the resort island, has been welcomed in Australia, where her case has long fascinated the public.
Australian journalists have flocked to Bali for her release, which could come as soon as Monday although she will not be allowed to leave Indonesia until 2017, and a bidding war is in full swing for her first post-jail interview.
But anger has been mounting at the decision in Indonesia, where many believe she has received special treatment due to her high profile in Australia, with a critical newspaper editorial this weekend labelling her the “Marijuana Queen”.
“Public sentiment is against this,” said lawmaker Eva Kusuma Sundari, who organised a protest letter signed by eight MPs against Corby’s release and handed to Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin on Thursday.
“It is not supported by the parliament and the public,” added the lawmaker, from the opposition Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle. “You should not go against the national anti-drugs agency’s policies”.
Indonesia’s anti-drugs laws are some of toughest in the world and include the death penalty in the most extreme cases.
Bambang Soesatyo, an MP from the Golkar Party, told the Jakarta Post: “This is insensitive to public concerns about the rampant circulation of illegal drugs in Indonesia.”
In their letter, MPs also expressed concern that granting Corby parole was inappropriate so soon after revelations emerged Australian spies allegedly tried to tap the phone of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.
The National Movement Against Narcotics (Granat), which has long campaigned against granting Corby parole, issued a strongly worded statement against the decision Sunday.
“Crimes committed by Corby or other drug convicts — they are crimes against the safety of our nation,” said group chairman Henry Yosodiningrat.
“The president should be sensitive to the public’s sense of justice, as the public will be the ones who will be hurt by this clemency shown to Corby.”
When he announced that Corby was being granted parole on Friday, Syamsuddin went to great lengths to defend the decision, saying it was “not an act of generosity” but “a right regulated by law”.
Corby, whose battle with mental illness in prison and repeated proclamations of innocence have attracted huge public sympathy in Australia, was not allowed to leave prison immediately after the decision due to final administrative procedures.
However Farid Junaidi, governor of Kerobokan prison where Corby is jailed, confirmed on Sunday morning that the parole documents were en route from Jakarta to Bali and could arrive in the evening.
If the documents do arrive late Sunday, Corby will still have to wait until the following day to complete the final steps before her release.
Corby, who was originally jailed for 20 years but received several sentence cuts, will have to remain in Indonesia until 2017 to fulfil the conditions of her parole.
She is expected to stay with her sister Mercedes, who lives on Bali’s tourist strip of Kuta