Australian drug mule Corby escapes jail return over TV interview

Australian drug mule Corby escapes jail return over TV interview

JAKARTA - Australian drug mule Schapelle Corby will not have her parole revoked over a controversial TV interview, an Indonesian official said Friday, adding there was no ground to send her back to jail.

Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin had threatened to revoke Corby's parole after her sister, Mercedes Corby, gave a television interview to Australia's Channel Seven last month, maintaining Schapelle's innocence.

Authorities in Indonesia reacted to the interview with anger, particularly Mercedes' suggestion that Indonesians may have planted the drugs found by airport customs officials in her sister's surf gear.

Prisoners paroled in Indonesia are usually expected to admit guilt and show remorse for their crimes.

"It was her sister who did the interview, not Schapelle," prisons spokeswoman Ika Yusanti told AFP.

"She hasn't broken any of the conditions of her parole or any laws, so there are no legal grounds to send her back to prison. We will continue to keep a watch on her," she said.

Corby was jailed for 20 years for smuggling 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana onto the resort island of Bali in 2004.

She was paroled in February after receiving several remissions, including a five-year sentence cut on a clemency appeal to the president.

Syamsuddin, who granted Corby parole, said last month there was a "big possibility" she would be sent back to prison following the interview.

The minister was under considerable pressure from the parliament's legal commission and anti-drugs groups that vehemently opposed Corby's freedom from jail.

Australian police also dropped an investigation into Corby and Channel Seven for proceeds of crime, an Australian law that bans criminals from financially benefiting from their notoriety.

The Corby saga has riveted the Australian public and generated significant sympathy in her home country, where her plight has been given blanket coverage.

The drama escalated last month, when Corby brandished a knife in an apparent attempt at self-harm while officials visited her home after threats of sending her back to prison were made.

Corby was diagnosed with depression and psychosis during her time in prison, and has reportedly been struggling mentally since her release.

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