Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd lobbied President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Bali on Thursday over convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby and fellow Australians on death row on the island.
The former Australian premier pitched for a pardon for Corby, sentenced to a 20-year prison term in 2005 for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into Bali, and for three members of the so-called Bali Nine ring of heroin smugglers not to be executed.
Rudd’s office confirmed the move, and said discussions with Indonesia’s president also included issues such as security in the region, interfaith dialogue and development assistance.
Australia’s top diplomat was in Bali with other world leaders to attend the Bali Democracy Forum, which was kicked off by President Yudhoyono on Thursday.
Earlier in Bali Rudd announced a doubling of aid to Indonesia to help it cut greenhouse gas emissions from logging. Australia will give Indonesia an extra A$45 million (US$44 million) towards the initiative, Rudd said.
The foreign minister’s lobbying effort on behalf of Australians in Bali prisons follows similar moves by him at the UN General Assembly in September, when he discussed the issue with his Indonesian counterpart, Marty Natalegawa. And Prime Minister Julia Gillard made the same pleas to Yudhoyono during a visit to Jakarta last month.
Corby, 33, has lost all her appeals and has lodged a request for presidential clemency, largely citing a psychiatric condition as the reason she should be freed.
The three Bali Nine on death row at Kerobokan Prison — Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and Scott Rush — are awaiting verdicts in final appeals before the Supreme Court in a bid to avoid the firing squad.