Schapelle Corby's mum wants her home by August

Last updated 13:41 23/05/2012
Schapelle Corby.
Reuters
STAYING BEHIND BARS: Schapelle Corby.
Schapelle Corby, right, with her mum Rosleigh during her trial.
Schapelle Corby, right, with her mum Rosleigh during her trial.

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Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby's mum hopes she will be home for a "cleansing" beach swim by August.

However while Corby's plea for clemency to the Indonesian President has been approved, she could remain in a Bali prison for years to come.

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr last night confirmed Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had granted a five-year cut in the 20-year prison sentence for Corby, 34, which would mean her release in 2017.

Corby has also been accumulating remissions, so she may end up serving 11 of 20 years, earning release in 2015.

Parole could bring that date forward even earlier - and her family intends to apply for it.

Corby's mother, Rosleigh, told the Gold Coast Bulletin that the news was a huge relief and she hoped to bring her daughter back to Australia as early as August.

She said Corby was looking forward to a ‘‘cleansing swim’’ at the beach near her home at Tugun, on the Gold Coast, after her release.

"The sand between her toes on the Gold Coast, a lovely swim on the Gold Coast in the water at Tugun," Corby told the newspaper.

"It’s a relief off our shoulders. Every day we wait.

"I think it hasn’t sunk in yet. I can’t believe it. It feels like I want to bawl [but I can’t]. We’ve been up before. We just have to keep calm.

"I just keep thinking... July, August. I will be going over in July and I’m going to be bringing her home.

"She will be staying at our home. She will need care. We will have to see how she’s coping.

"We will have to get proper medical advice. As long as she has family that loves her, that are around her and will be patient [she will be all right]."

A prison source said Corby looked ''just like her usual self'' after her sister, Mercedes, delivered the news.

"The Australian government has consistently supported Corby's application for clemency on humanitarian grounds,'' Senator Carr said last night.

Corby has served eight years for smuggling 4.2 kilograms of cannabis into Indonesia.

Her lawyers had asked for a full remission of her sentence.

Clemency is unusual for a drug smuggler and for a person who has never admitted her guilt.

Corby had urged Dr Yudhoyono to consider her deteriorating mental condition when she launched her clemency appeal in 2010.

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Dr Yudhoyono's response was relayed in a letter to the governor of Kerobokan prison on Monday.

Relations between Australia and Indonesia have improved with a series of high-level visits and recent suggestions by Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa that a prisoner-exchange program could be established between Australia and Indonesia.

Indonesia's Justice Minister has also linked Corby's case with dozens of its underage citizens in Australian detention for crewing people-smuggling vessels. Several Indonesian youths have been released in recent weeks.

Senator Carr said the cases were unrelated and no deals had been struck between the two countries to secure Corby's early release.

He praised President Yudhoyono for granting Ms Corby five years' clemency - and cautioned Australians travelling overseas to pay heed to local laws.

Corby's arrest with a bodyboard bag stuffed with the cannabis at Denpasar airport on October 8, 2004, strained relations between Australia and Indonesia and sparked a media frenzy.

- Sydney Morning Herald

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