Updated: 02/07/2014 05:25 | By Agence France-Presse

Australian drug convict to learn Indonesia parole decision

Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby is expected to learn Friday whether Indonesian authorities have agreed to grant her parole after more than nine years behind bars on the resort island of Bali.

Australian drug convict to learn Indonesia parole decision

Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby is pictured on April 22, 2008 inside Kerobokan prison in Denpasar on the Indonesian resort island of Bali - by Sonny Tumbelaka

Corby, whose case attracted huge media attention and public sympathy in Australia, is due to find out her fate in the afternoon when Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin announces his decision in Jakarta. 

She was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2005 after being caught trying to smuggle 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana into Bali hidden in her surfing gear the previous year.

Syamsuddin has previously said he does not oppose parole for the 36-year-old.

However he insisted in recent days she will get no "special treatment" and his decision will principally be based on a recent assessment by a justice ministry parole board, whose views have not been made public.

"As long as she fulfils all the requirements and has the recommendation from the parole board... she will get her rights," he said. 

If granted parole, Corby is expected to walk out of the infamous Kerobokan prison on Bali within a short space of time, possibly by the weekend, after completing necessary paperwork.

But she will not be able to return to Australia until 2017 after her sentence is complete and she has stayed in Indonesia long enough to fulfil the conditions of her parole. Instead she will live on Bali with her sister.

The former beauty school student entered prison a fresh-faced young woman but will emerge a changed person after suffering from mental health problems during her time behind bars.

Corby, who has always maintained her innocence, had her original sentence cut substantially. She received several remissions for good behaviour and a five-year reduction from the Indonesian president after an appeal for clemency.

Her parole bid was a complex, months-long process and speculation began mounting last year that she was on the verge of release, only for it to again run into problems. It sped up in the past week after the parole board finally heard her application.

The process has been complicated by the fact it is rare for Indonesia to release foreigners on parole. However Corby's bid received a boost last month when a French drug smuggler was given an early release.

While many in Australia support her early release, some in Indonesia have been against it, saying it amounts to special treatment.

Eight lawmakers on Thursday handed a letter of protest to Syamsuddin voicing opposition to granting Corby parole. 

They said a decision to grant parole would run counter to Jakarta's anti-drugs laws, which are some of the toughest in the world, and would be inappropriate at a time when Australia-Indonesia ties were at a low after a row over spying.

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