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Indonesia grants parole to Schapelle Corby, Australian convicted of drug smuggling

By Saima Mohsin and Jethro Mullen, CNN
February 7, 2014 -- Updated 1909 GMT (0309 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The Indonesian Justice Minister says Corby's is one of many parole reviews completed
  • It's unclear when exactly she'll be released from a Bali prison
  • Corby was convicted in 2005 of smuggling marijuana into Bali
  • She has maintained her innocence; her lawyers argued the drugs were planted

Denpasar, Indonesia (CNN) -- Indonesia said Friday that Schapelle Corby, an Australian woman convicted almost nine years ago of drug smuggling, has been granted parole.

Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin announced the decision at a news conference in Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, saying Corby's parole review was one of more than 1,000 that had been completed.

It was unclear when she will be released from the Bali prison where she has been serving her lengthy sentence.

Corby, 36, was convicted in May 2005 for smuggling nine pounds (4.1 kilograms) of marijuana in a bag, while arriving at Bali's Denpasar International Airport the previous October.

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She has always maintained her innocence. Her lawyers argued the drugs were planted, possibly by airport employees involved in trafficking.

But the court found her guilty and sentenced her to 20 years in prison.

The punishment fueled anger in Australia, where many people said they felt Corby had been set up.

After exhausting the appeals process, Corby applied for clemency. A medical exam diagnosed her as suffering from acute depression with psychotic symptoms.

In 2012, Indonesia reduced her sentence by five years, laying the foundation for her parole application.

Corby appears unlikely to return to Australia anytime soon, though. Australian media have reported that she will have to remain in Bali on parole until 2017.

Some Indonesians have accused the authorities of giving Corby's case special attention. But the justice ministry says she's being treated the same way as other convicts in Indonesia.

READ: The saga of Schapelle Corby: The drug smuggling case that gripped Australia

READ: Lindsay Sandiford loses new execution appeal for Bali drug smuggling

CNN's Saima Mohsin reported from Denpasar, Indonesia, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Pierre Meilhan contributed to this report.

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