Schapelle Corby is Being Considered for Parole – But Are the Conditions Fair?

Schapelle Corby is being considered for parole, but are the conditions fair? Should she be expected to admit to something she didn’t do? Schapelle Corby, unjustly convicted of smuggling drugs into Bali in 2004, may be eligible for “parole” and may be able to return to Australia in 2018.

Should Schapelle have to admit to a crime she didn't commit to get parole?

Should Schapelle have to admit to a crime she didn’t commit to get parole?

A meeting between the Kerobokan Jail Corrections Board and jail officials took place recently to discuss the possibility of releasing Corby on parole. Two other meetings, first between Justice Ministry officials in Bali and then between officials in Jakarta, must be held before the decision on her release can be finalized. This process could take several more months. When Corby is granted parole, she will be required to serve her time at her sister’s house in Bali.

Although Corby is eligible for parole, the process has been slowed due to a strict set of conditions recently instated by the Indonesian government concerning serious crimes, including drug smuggling. These conditions include agreeing to become a “justice collaborator,” admitting guilt, and showing remorse. The prison has already sent a letter to the corrections board, saying she has “demonstrated good behavior while in prison.” Corby has also acquired letters of support from the Australian government, the head of the village where she will be serving her parole, and her family.

Also needed for Corby’s release from jail is a ministerial decree. This approval from the Justice Minister, Nugroho, can take at least two or three months to get, sometimes longer for foreigners. Her lawyer is also waiting for a letter classifying Corby’s immigration status. She could need a “stay permit” to reside in Bali, which is needed before she can apply for parole. Corby does have a choice regarding her sentence. If she stays in jail for the rest of her sentence, she will be free to go back to Australia by 2015. However, neither of these choices satisfactory for someone who is innocent of the crime she accused of committing.

In order to be released on parole, “moral and religious training” is mandatory. This is to help integrate Corby into society and help her learn to “obey the guidance process.” Corby has also signed a document stating that she will not commit any crimes, use or distribute narcotics, and that she will report to the Corrections Board every month. Parole officers will also make surprise visits at her home in Bali. She will also report to Australian Consular officials in Bali. Considering that many details prove Corby’s innocence were covered up mostly by Australian authorities, it does not seem fair that Corby is being forced to admit to something she did not do. These details include the Australian government not using legal authority to push for the forensic and DNA tests that would further prove Corby’s innocence, and the suppression of a recording of two criminals discussing details of the marijuana drug ring in the Sydney airport. It seems as if the Australian government is more concerned with hiding the evidence that a serious drug ring is based in their airports than in rescuing their own citizen from wrongful imprisonment.

See our earlier posts on Schapelle Corby here and here.

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Steve Graham is a criminal defense lawyer, and he splits his time between Spokane and Seattle, Washington. Visit his website by clicking:
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