Corby may have to come clean to get parole

SEEKING PAROLE: Schapelle Corby's sentence ends January 2017.
SEEKING PAROLE: Schapelle Corby's sentence ends January 2017.

Schapelle Corby may need to admit for the first time ever that she is a drug smuggler, and then show remorse for her crime, before she can be granted parole under tough new laws passed in Indonesia.

As Kerobokan's prison governor Ngurah Wiratna met Corby's lawyer yesterday, he confirmed that she would need to prove to the country's anti-narcotics police, BNN, that she was willing to be a "justice collaborator" in future, but also to admit she was involved in the 2004 drug importation of 4.1kg of cannabis.

The harsh new regulation signed by President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in November throws a significant new hurdle up for Corby, who is hoping to apply for parole soon so she can serve the rest of her sentence under the care of her sister Mercedes, who lives in Bali.

Corby has always insisted she was the innocent victim of a scam run by Qantas baggage handlers at Sydney airport who put the drug into her boogie board bag without her knowledge.

But the new regulation affects all prisoners serving sentences in Indonesia for drugs, terrorism, transnational crime, corruption and treason. It has thrown into doubt hundreds of thousands of prisoners' applications for remission of their sentences as well as parole.

Corby's lawyer Iskandar Nawing admitted he had not yet spoken about the new provision to Corby's family. Other issues needed to come first, he said, particularly the refusal so far of Indonesia's immigration department to confirm whether his client will be given a visa to allow her to stay in the country during her parole.

Two conflicting immigration regulations have so far prevented any decision on that issue, and Mr Nawing has said he could not file for parole until the issue was clarified.

However, he said the letter signed last week by the Australian government, which has guaranteed Corby's good behaviour was "a blessing from god for me and for my client".

"This guarantee letter, I think, is very important for the parole process. It's not easy for any government to issue this kind of guarantee," he said.

Another letter from Corby's sister Mercedes' Balinese husband Wayan Widyartha guarantees that Corby can live with them after her release and that they will support her financially, emotionally and "oversee and educate (her) to be a responsible citizen".

On the need to admit guilt, Mr Nawing said: "I haven't discussed the new regulations with Corby yet. I will deal with what's at hand first."

The prison governor confirmed yesterday that Corby, like hundreds of thousands of other prisoners on drug offences, would need to admit her guilt.

Asked about Corby's chances of fulfilling the conditions he said: "The regulation is very clear -- you have to draw your own conclusion".

President Yudhoyono last year granted Corby a five-year sentence reduction after she appealed to him for clemency, reducing her jail term from 20 years to 15. It is rare in Indonesia for prisoners on drug offences, and those who have not admitted their guilt, to be granted presidential clemency.

- With Amilia Rosa, Bali

Sydney Morning Herald