Hope in sight for Schapelle Corby
Schapelle Corby has cleared two of the bureaucratic hurdles standing between her and her parole bid, and has only two more to go before she can be released from Kerobokan prison.
A spokesman for the Indonesian Corrections department, Ayub Suratman, has confirmed that the Australian government has issued the convicted drug smuggler a new passport at the request of the country's immigration department.
The immigration department has also confirmed in writing that Corby, who has served nine years in jail, was legally able to stay in Indonesia to serve out her sentence.
She has now fulfilled all the immigration requirements of a foreign prisoner serving parole - including a guarantee from the Australian embassy that she will behave well.
The two remaining hurdles are sign-off from a meeting of staff of the corrections department to confirm that all the paperwork is in order; then political approval from Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin.
Syamsuddin told Fairfax Media in October: "The record of Schapelle Corby is good, and if a good person serves her sentence well, we automatically have to give her rights".
Ayub said the corrections meeting would take place soon - though he did not know when - and as long as there were no problems with her application, should be over within a day and the file sent to the minister.
If the Australian diplomatic spat with Indonesia over spying and asylum seekers is to affect Corby's application, it is likely happen in the office of the justice minister.
Amir acknowledged last year that granting parole to such a high profile Australian prisoner - known in the Indonesian press as the Ganja Queen - could be politically difficult in an election year. However he has stated more than once that this is a legal decision, not a political one, and that he would grant parole if she fulfilled requirements.
Once she is out of jail, Corby must spend the rest of her sentence under the care of her sister, Mercedes, and brother in law, surf-shop owner Wayan Widyartha, who live in Kuta, Bali. She has agreed she will work designing bikinis at Widyartha's shop.
Corby was found guilty of smuggling 4.2kg of marijuana into Indonesia in 2004 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. After a two-month sentence cut for good behaviour at Christmas, she will be eligible to return to Australia on July 25, 2017.
Sydney Morning Herald