Following a meeting with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Jakarta on Tuesday during which she pressed for clemency for drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono appeared to suggest that he was open to granting a pardon.
But Yudhoyono said it might be more likely that Corby, 33, could serve out the remainder of her 20-year sentence in Australia, under a prisoner-exchange treaty that has been discussed but whose development has stalled.
The president told reporters after meeting Gillard: “This is what we need to develop: the balancing of the principle of justice must be upheld and the consideration of the humanitarian aspects.”
Corby was arrested on arrival in Bali in 2004 with 4.2 kilograms of marijuana in her luggage. Successive appeals of her sentence have failed, leaving her with the final avenue of a presidential pardon.
She is one of a number of Australians in prison in Bali for drug offences. Three of the so-called Bali Nine group of drug smugglers are on death row and have launched final appeals. If they are unsuccessful they will likely seek clemency in a bid to avoid the firing squad.
Gillard said she informed Yudhoyono that the Australian government would support such pardons.