Not coping … Schapelle Corby. Photo: Jason South
Further details of an Indonesian Supreme Court judge’s opinion in relation to Schapelle Corby’s clemency bid have emerged, backing a number of other key reports recommending a significant sentence cut.
Corby, who was jailed for 20 years in 2004 for attempting to smuggle 4.1 kilograms of marijuana into Bali in a bodyboard bag, applied for clemency from Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono more than two years ago.
While she is understood to have been encouraged by recent positive developments in her bid for freedom, the 34-year-old is still being treated for mental illness.
The Supreme Court confirmed in 2010 that it had submitted its report to Dr Yudhoyono, recommending Corby for an early release.
Further details of the court’s opinion have now emerged after recent confirmation from Indonesia’s Justice and Human Rights Ministry that it had also recommended she be granted clemency on humanitarian grounds.
However, the court suggested that her sentence only be reduced by five years, in contrast to other reports that raised the possibility she could have her 20-year term cut by as much as half.
The Supreme Court judge responsible for the opinion also referred to Corby’s refusal to admit guilt, pointing out that “the convict kept denying the evidence was hers”, but that “there has been no evidence to support this”.
The comments loom as a factor that could stand against her bid for clemency.
Successful clemency applications also usually require prisoners to admit guilt, which Corby has not done, and Dr Yudhoyono is also well known for his reluctance to show leniency towards people convicted of drug trafficking.
While the court’s opinion was submitted in July 2010, the crucial final report from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry was handed to Dr Yudhoyono’s office only late last year, and included approval for clemency from the director-general of prisons.
Dr Yudhoyono’s decision will be based on the recommendation from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry and the judge’s opinion, as well as advice from the Attorney-General’s Department, Foreign Ministry and National Narcotics Board.
A source in the office of the state secretariat, which handles the President’s administrative affairs including clemency applications, confirmed Corby’s case had reached the stage at which it was awaiting a final decision.
Corby’s clemency application was first lodged in March 2010, appealing for an early release on the grounds that she was suffering from a mental illness that could endanger her life.
Her family has confirmed she is being treated with anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs.