Indonesia Cuts Oz Drug Trafficker's Jail Term

Jonathan Samuels, Australia correspondent
Indonesia Cuts Oz Drug Trafficker's Jail Term

An Australian trainee beauty therapist jailed for 20 years for smuggling cannabis into the holiday island of Bali has had her sentence cut by five years.

Schapelle Corby's case has become one of the most commented on in Australia. When she was convicted in 2005, the verdict was broadcast across the country live on television.

Indonesia, which has some of the world's toughest anti-drugs laws, has agreed to a clemency plea by convicted Corby, slashing five years off her 20-year sentence.

"The clemency letter for Schapelle Corby was issued on Monday with the approval of the president and, with that, Corby's jail sentence is reduced by five years," said Amzer Simanjuntak, spokesman for the Denpasar district court on the island of Bali, where Corby is imprisoned.

Corby, 34, was convicted in 2005 of smuggling 4.1 kgs (nine pounds) of marijuana and is serving her sentence at the overcrowded Kerobokan prison.

She has always maintained the drugs were planted in her bag.

Her lawyer, Iskandar Nawing, says Corby has been driven insane at Kerobokan, one of Indonesia's most notorious prisons, whose 1,000 inmates include 60 foreigners, 12 of whom are Australian.

Australia welcomed the sentence reduction.

"I welcome the Indonesian president's decision to grant this reduction," Foreign Minister Bob Carr said in a statement.

"The Australian government has consistently supported Ms Corby's application for clemency on humanitarian grounds."

The foreign minister denied suggestions a deal was done with Jakarta to have five years shaved off Corby's sentence in exchange for the release of three young Indonesians accused of being people-smugglers.

"We've been releasing them because it's plainly indecent to have, in Australian adult jails, kids from Indonesia that have been picked up on fishing boats being used for people-smuggling," he said.

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