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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Schapelle Corby's sentence cut by 5 years

The President of Indonesia has reduced Schapelle Corby's sentence by five years and her mother is daring to hope, again.  The Indonesians are pleased by our government's move to return underage men being held in Detention Centres and are looking favourably at Schapelle's case.

But Foreign Minister Bob Carr strongly denies that a deal was done.  "At no stage did we do a deal with Indonesia" he said.  The decision on minors in Australian jails was made because of the merits of the case -  we would be releasing minors regardless of the current circumstances.   "If there was no Corby issue, we would still be doing this because it's the right thing to do and if that creates a level of warmth in Jakata, then that's fine" he said.

Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin said "So it's clear that we are paying attention to the plight of Corby, in reciprocity, we hope there will be the same kind of attention from Australia." He added "Generally, the Australian government is very strict in its laws, especially in regard to those linked to people trafficking - these are poor fishermen involved in people smuggling, there are hundreds of them there."

But hang on a minute, it's not our fault that poor, illiterate boys grab a chance of easy money and take a boatload of refugees to Australia.  As the Indonesians have rules about taking drugs into their country, we have rules about smuggling people into ours.

Mr Carr was unable to confirm reports that Schapelle could be released by the end of this year because of good behaviour.  "Any argument about parole would be something for Ms Corby's legal representatives to lodge" he said.

Indonesia's Minister for the State Secretariat, Sudi Silalahi described the decision to reduce Corby's sentence as part of a reciprocal arrangement with Australia which had already returned some young Indonesians accused of crewing asylum seeker boats.  "It's not just a promise, they have been followed through and they've already returned" he said.

Nobody can begin to imagine what Schapelle Corby has had to endure inside her prison from hell and a 20 year sentence for smuggling cannabis seems excessive in the extreme.  I've never been convinced that Schapelle put that dope into her boogie bag, but even if she did, she's suffered more than enough.

Dare we hope that this time, the end is near.