Govt baulks at Corby parole guarantee
Schapelle Corby. Picture: Reuters/Bagus Othman/Files.

The Australian government will provide a letter of support for Schapelle Corby's parole application, but has refused to say if it will give a guarantee needed to help her win a release from jail before the end of the year.

Corby, who was caught in 2004 attempting to import 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into Bali in her bodyboard bag, will be eligible to apply for parole in two weeks if a recommendation that another six months be shaved from her sentence is approved.

The 35-year-old had her 20-year prison term slashed by five years in May after she won an appeal for clemency from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

A fresh recommendation for another six-month cut, if approved as expected within the next two weeks, and combined with more than two years in remissions the 35-year-old has already received, will mean she would have served two-thirds of that sentence.

Under Indonesian law, prisoners that have served two-thirds of their sentence are eligible to apply for pembebasan bersyarat (parole).

The Australian government has confirmed to AAP that a letter of support for Corby's parole application was being prepared.

But the government has refused to say whether it will provide a guarantee that Corby will adhere to a strict set of conditions that would likely be imposed during her period of probation.

"The Australian government is preparing a letter to support Ms Corby's parole application but it would be premature and inappropriate to discuss the details," a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said.

"The Australian government cannot take legal responsibility for the behaviour or whereabouts of its citizens," the spokesperson said.

Parole is extremely rare for foreigners in Indonesia, and the strict set of conditions Corby would have to meet include the Australian government providing a guarantee that she would not flee.

Prisoners also have to demonstrate positive moral development, including taking part in religious activities, and show regret for their crime.

The period of probation would have to be served in Indonesia.

Gusti Ngurah Wiratna, the governor of Bali's notorious Kerobokan jail where Corby has been imprisoned for eight years, said the guarantee would be crucial to a successful parole application.

"There are stages that must be gone through like hearing by correctional observer ... guarantee from the family, and if she has undergone two-thirds of sentence or not, as well as a guarantee from the (Australian) embassy," Mr Wiratna told AAP.

If she fails to win parole, the earliest Corby could walk free from Kerobokan jail is mid-2015, so long as she continues to win the maximum eight months per year in remissions.

The latest development comes amid ongoing resentment in some quarters in Indonesia following a clemency decision in May.

The National Anti-Drugs Movement lost a case against Dr Yudhoyono's decree and plans to lodge a second appeal.

The West Australian

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