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Gilded Bird in an Iron Cage?

Indonesia and Australia Working on Prisoner Exchange Program that Will Assist Shapelle Corby and Members of the 'Bali Nine.'

(3/8/2008) Discussions underway between ranking Australian and Indonesian officials may eventually clear the way for a number of Australian prisoners now incarcerated in Bali to serve at least a portion of their sentences in Australia.

The Rudd Government is working behind the scenes to draft a prisoner transfer agreement that would allow convicted criminals held in each country to be transferred back home to serve their sentences closer to home.

While details of the agreement now under consideration are unknown, it is widely expected that prisoners may be required to serve at least half of their sentence in the country where the crime was committed and will not apply in situations where a case is still under judicial review. Those Australians facing a death sentence for crimes committed in Indonesia will also not be eligible for repatriation to Australia which has abandoned capital punishment.

Likely to eventually benefit from the proposed agreement are Shapelle Corby serving a 20-year sentence for smuggling 4.2 kg of marijuana into Bali and three of the "Bali Nine" who were convicted for trying to carry heroin into an Australia-bound flight from Bali's airport.

Whether or not Shapelle Corby would try to avail herself of a closer-to-home prison sentence remains unclear. In the past, her Mother expressed the opinion that prisons conditions were arguably better in the Indonesia, fearing her daughter might suffer sexual harassment in the Australian prison system.