Convicted Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby should be freed from her 20-year prison term in Bali on “humanitarian” grounds, Australian media reported on Thursday.
Citing “a well-placed source,” The Age newspaper said the Foreign Ministry in Jakarta — one of several state institutions providing advice to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as he considers Corby’s last-ditch plea for clemency — would suggest “leniency leading to her release from Kerobokan Prison.”
After being convicted in Denpasar in 2005 of smuggling 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into Bali the year before, Corby, 33, has lost all appeals of her sentence.
She has always maintained she is innocent, a victim a drug-trafficking syndicate that surreptitiously used her luggage to ferry the marijuana from Australia to Bali.
However, in requesting a presidential pardon, the petitioner admits their guilt, legal analysts say.
The appeal to the president is based on assertions by Corby that she is suffering a mental illness and should therefore be freed.
It emerged last week that the head of Kerobokan Prison, Siswanto, has provided a report to President Yudhoyono stating that Corby’s declaration that she is mentally disturbed is untrue and that the prisoner was faking the claim.
Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has been lobbying the Indonesian government for Corby’s release in his new position as foreign minister, most recently at the UN General Assembly in New York last month, where his office said he discussed the issue with Foreign Minster Marty Natalegawa.
Both countries had been negotiating a prisoner-exchange treaty but talks appear to have stalled.
Corby is one of a number of Australians in prison in Bali for drugs offences, three of whom are on death row.