Islamists protest parole for Australian drug mule Corby

JAKARTA - More than 100 Islamic hardliners slammed the Indonesian government Friday for approving Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby's parole from jail, saying the convicted drug mule should receive the death penalty.

Corby, 36, was released from prison on the holiday island of Bali on Monday after a drawn-out application that took more than a year finally led to her release.

The crowd of mostly men from the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI) and other hardline groups gathered in the capital Jakarta demanding Corby's parole be revoked, saying the justice minister "should be ashamed" for green-lighting her freedom.

"This person brings marijuana into our country and is freed? That is simply unjust. Where are our rights?" senior FPI member Haji Awit Masyhuri told AFP at the protest.

"She should have been given the death penalty - all drug traffickers should," he said, adding that the Indonesian government had shown special treatment for Corby because she was Australian.

A speaker on a megaphone shouted that President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was "bowing down to Australia" when he granted Corby a five-year sentence cut in 2012, paving the way for her eligibility for parole.

"Drugs are not our culture. That's Australia's culture. In Indonesia drugs means the death penalty - why did we free her?" the protester shouted, to which others replied "Allahu Akbar" (God is greater), before marching to the presidential palace.

The protesters also repeated past demands that the president issue a decree banning the sale of alcohol, claiming that alcohol consumption leads to increased HIV rates, crime and road accidents.

Corby was arrested in 2004 when customs officials found 4.1 kilos (nine pounds) of marijuana in her body board bag. She served more than nine years in prison before being granted parole and has maintained her innocence, claiming the drugs were planted.

She must serve out her sentence in Indonesia and will be free to leave in 2017 if she abides by her parole conditions.