Indonesia to decide on Australian trafficker parole in days

JAKARTA - High-profile Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby will learn within days whether she will be granted parole from an Indonesian jail following a lengthy bid to win early release, a minister said Wednesday.

Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin said the 36-year-old's application was among a large batch he would decide on by Friday although he stressed she would not get "special treatment".

Corby, whose case has attracted huge publicity in Australia, was sentenced to 20 years in jail in 2005 after being caught trying to smuggle 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana into the resort island of Bali.

She lodged her bid for early release from jail in Bali months ago but the process has moved along slowly due to bureaucratic wrangling and the complexities of the Indonesian legal system.

However a justice ministry parole board in Jakarta heard her application in private last week.

Syamsuddin said the board's assessment was among 1,700 parole applications he would examine this week.

"I promise, God willing, that I will process all 1,700 within the next three days," he told reporters in Jakarta.

He did not indicate what his decision might be on the Australia's case, although he said: "Corby will not get special treatment.

"As long as she fulfils all the requirements and has the recommendation from the parole board... she will get her rights."

He has previously said that he does not oppose granting Corby early release, however the key factor in her case is whether she receives a recommendation from the parole board.

Authorities on Bali have already recommended her early release but the process slowed down in recent months.

However hopes rose when a French drug smuggler was granted parole last month. Michael Blanc is one of the few foreigners to have been freed on parole in recent years.

Corby has always maintained her innocence. Her original 20-year sentence was reduced significantly after she received several remissions for good behaviour and a cut of five years from the president.

If granted parole, Corby would still be bound to live on Bali and obliged to report regularly to authorities.

She would live with her sister and would not be allowed to return to Australia until 2017.