Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he won’t cast judgment on the Indonesian justice system, as Schapelle Corby faces the possibility of release on parole from a Bali prison.
After nine years behind bars for drug smuggling, Corby, 36, is inching towards parole, with reports emerging that a decision could arrive within three days. Her name is believed to be among a large number of cases being considered, with signals that a decision could arrive by the end of the week.
Mr Abbott said this was ultimately a matter for the Indonesian justice system, and any Australians in the country have to obey the law of the land.
“Generally speaking, the less said about consular cases the better. Let’s see what the system produces,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Wednesday.
“I’m not going to get into the business of casting judgment on the justice systems of our friends and neighbours.”
Indonesia’s Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin on Wednesday confirmed he would consider Corby’s bid for parole within days.
But he insisted the Australian would get no special treatment, with her case to be treated the same as the 1700 others before him.
The 36-year-old’s case for parole was heard in Jakarta last week, but it’s not known if the recommendation to Mr Syamsuddin was for or against her release.
But he has promised she will find out either way before the end of the week.
“There are 1700 prisoners who are being processed by the parole board and they’ve been finished by the parole board,” Mr Syamsuddin told reporters in Jakarta.
“We just need to review that. I promise within three days, Insha’Allah [if Allah wills], I will finish it.”
Mr Syamsuddin has already said publicly he can see no reason why Corby’s parole bid should be rejected.
Corby was aged 27 when she was caught in 2004 attempting to smuggle more than four kilograms of marijuana into Bali in a bodyboard bag. She has always maintained her innocence.
She has already been issued a new passport and approval from the Indonesian immigration department to serve out her sentence in the Kuta home of her sister Mercedes and her husband Wayan Widyartha.
Corby plans to spend her days on parole working in Wayan’s Kuta surf shop, where she would design bikinis.
She will have to report to authorities regularly and abide by the law while living in Kuta until at least March 24, 2017.