Schapelle Corby looking for Australian help on parole

FOREIGN Minister Bob Carr says most Australians would agree convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has served a substantial term in an Indonesian jail and deserves the chance to plead her case before parole authorities.

The 35-year-old Gold Coast beautician's family hope an "official guarantee" from the Australian Government to meet strict Indonesian parole conditions will see her released from jail in Bali.

Minister Bob Carr told media on Sunday a letter delivered by the Australian Consulate to the governor's office at Kerobokan prison over the weekend offered a "guarantee" that Corby would not flee Indonesia during her parole and backed regular drug testing by Indonesian authorities as a condition of her parole application.

Minister Carr stressed at a press conference on Sunday the letter of guarantee would not automatically lead to parole but confirmed it was a breakthrough.

Officials would now attempt to navigate a range of barriers to her release, including her lack of a valid passport and legal barriers to granting a visa to a convicted drug offender.

Minster Carr said Ms Corby was convicted and sentenced in accordance with Indonesian law.

"Her 20-year sentence is a warning to anyone thinking of involving themselves in illegal activities overseas," he said.

"The parole process is independent of government. We cannot influence their final decision which will be made on its merits.

"However, most Australians would agree she has served a substantial term in gaol and deserves the chance to plead her case before parole authorities.

"We've advised Indonesian authorities the Australian Government supports the granting of parole to Ms Corby."

If Indonesian authorities accept the Australian guarantee, Corby still would have to remain in Bali until her release date in 2017.

It is likely Schapelle would live with her sister Mercedes Corby or be placed in an immigration detention centre.

Schapelle had flown to Bali to attend her older sister Mercedes' 30th birthday party more than eight years ago.

She never made it - arrested on arrival with 4.2kg of marijuana inside her boogie board bag.

Since her arrest, Ms Corby claimed she was innocent, that the drugs were inserted into her unlocked bag by drug traffickers working at Australian airports.

She was convicted and sentenced to 20 years behind bars, with only a few hospital visits breaking up her term.


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