Kerobokan - Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby was
released from an Indonesian prison on parole on Monday after more than nine
years behind bars, racing past hordes of waiting journalists as scores of
police stood guard.
The 36-year-old covered her face with a scarf and hat as she
was ushered into a minibus waiting outside Kerobokan jail on the resort island
of Bali, as camera crews and photographers fought to get a shot of her.
Corby, whose case has drawn huge fascination in Australia
since she was caught entering Bali in 2004 with marijuana stashed in her
surfing gear, sped off to complete final administrative steps for her release,
with journalists giving chase.
Dressed in a white blouse and jeans, she headed to the
prosecutors' office and then to the corrections office, part of the justice
ministry which will oversee her parole, trying to keep her face covered at all
At the corrections office, she signed papers agreeing to her
parole conditions. Despite her face being obscured, she could be seen dabbing
at her eyes with a tissue, an AFP reporter at the scene said.
Her release dominated Australian TV networks on Monday
morning, with every second of her release broadcast live to all those who have
followed the case minutely.
As expected Corby did not comment on her release, as a bidding
war is reportedly in full swing in Australia for her first post-jail interview.
However Kerobokan prison governor Farid Junaidi said she seemed fine.
"She was fine when she left, only a little anxious and
she asked why there were so many people and reporters," he told
journalists outside the jail.
Journalists have been camped outside Kerobokan jail for the
past week in anticipation of her release, with one Australian television
network alone having reportedly dispatched 17 staff.
Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin announced on
Friday that Corby, who has always maintained her innocence, had been granted
parole following a drawn-out process that repeatedly ran into bureaucratic
The move was welcomed in Australia but drew protests from
Indonesian lawmakers and an anti-drugs group, who said it went against the
country's tough anti-narcotics laws.
Syamsuddin defended the move, saying that parole was a
"right regulated by law".
Mental health problems in jail
Following her release, Corby will not be able to return to
Australia until 2017. Her sentence ends in 2016 and then she will be required
to stay for another year to comply with the conditions of her parole.
During this period, Corby is expected to live on the resort
island with her sister Mercedes, who has a Balinese husband.
She will also have to report regularly to authorities in
Bali and will be allowed to travel to other parts of Indonesia but only with
prior permission from the authorities.
Corby, who has always insisted that the 4.1kg of marijuana
found in her body board bag were planted, will emerge a changed woman after
years in Kerobokan prison.
Prisoners typically live side by side in overcrowded cells,
and drug abuse, fighting between inmates and beatings by jail wardens are
She has suffered from mental health problems in prison and
needed hospital treatment for depression.
Corby was convicted and jailed for 20 years in 2005.
The end of her sentence was brought forward to 2016 after
she received several remissions for good behaviour, and a five-year cut
following an appeal for clemency to the Indonesian president.
Her parole bid was a complex, months-long process which
repeatedly ran into bureaucratic hurdles. The process sped up in the past week
when a justice ministry parole board in Jakarta finally heard her case.
Her application included letters of support from the
Australian government, as well as her family, the head of the Balinese village
where she will live and Kerobokan prison.
In prison Corby lived alongside other foreigners sentenced
under Indonesia's tough anti-narcotics laws, from people caught with small
quantities of drugs at parties to those attempting to smuggle huge stashes into