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Indonesia grants parole to Corby

Jakarta - Indonesia granted early release on parole on Friday to convicted Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby in the resort island of Bali despite calls from some legislators for the high-profile prisoner to serve out her full term.

Corby, 36, was among nearly 1 300 convicts approved for parole, the Justice Ministry said in a statement, because she “fulfilled substantive and administrative requirements as laid out by the law”.

Australian beauty therapist Schapelle Corby sits inside a police car as she arrives at the court in Denpasar in the Indonesian resort island of Bali in this August 25, 2006, photograph. File picture: Murdani Usman. Credit: Reuters

“This is not the result of ministerial generosity,” Amir Syamsuddin, minister for justice and human rights, told reporters, referring to Corby's parole.

“This is in line with existing law.”

Corby was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2005 for trying to smuggle 4kg of marijuana into Bali. Drug trafficking usually carries the death penalty in the world's fourth-largest country.

A small group of MPs this week urged against clemency.

Legislator Taslim Chaniago told media: “We regret the inconsistency of the government in establishing zero tolerance for drugs in 2014.”

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono granted Corby's clemency plea in 2012, reducing her sentence by five years because of good behaviour.

The parole announcement comes at a time of heightened tension between the neighbours over the handling of asylum-seekers who attempt to reach Australia via Indonesia and revelations last year that the Australian government spied on top Indonesians.

Relations deteriorated to a 13-year low last year following media reports that Australia's intelligence services had tried to eavesdrop on mobile phone conversations of the Indonesian president, his wife and other senior government officials.

Indonesia suspended military and intelligence co-operation with Australia in the wake of the allegations, which were based on documents leaked by former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The two sides have since agreed to co-operate to repair relations.

Indonesia's Justice Ministry declined to say when Corby would be released from prison in Bali. - Reuters

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