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Smuggling Drugs or Smuggling People?

While Indonesian Officials Admit Reciprocity Involved in Schapelle Corby Sentence Remission, Australians Deny Any Linkage with Indonesia Children Held in Australian Prisons

(5/25/2012) Australia is officially denying suggestions that they any special considerations is being given to people smugglers from Indonesia held in Australian prisons in connection with the 5-year sentence remission granted by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to Australian narcotics smuggler Schapelle Corby.

The Bali Post reports from Canberra that Australian Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, acknowledges that Indonesia officials are linking the treatment of 34-year-old Schapelle Corby with young Indonesians held in Australian prisons. He, however, denies any link between the two issues.

As reported by Balidiscovery.com, Corby was granted a sentence remission of 5 years from her 20-year sentence handed down in 2005 for smuggling marijuana into Bali from Australia. Her lawyer calculates that the latest remission, when added to earlier routine sentence reductions for time served, mean his client should go free in another three months,
Law and Human Rights Ministry's Corrections Spokesman, Akbar Hadi Prabowo explained that Presidential Decision Number 22/G of 2012 dated May 15, 2012, granted Schapelle Corby a 5-year sentence cut. When Corby’s time served and other sentence cuts are taken into consideration she should go free on September 3, 2012. However, this all depends on whether or not other conditions of her sentence are met, such as a court –imposed fine of Rp. 100 million (US$10,700)

A Link to People Smuggling?

The announcement of Corby’s presidential remission comes just one week after Australia released three young Indonesian boys from prison. The three were members of a ship’s crew used to smuggle illegal immigrants into Australia. The release from Australian prisons was reportedly predicated on the fact that three were legally minors at the time of their arrest.

The Australian government is also said to have the sentenced of 21 more Indonesian prisoners under review, following continued protests by the Indonesian government. The Australian Commission for Human Rights has admitted that those under detention may have been children at the time of their arrest.

Meanwhile an Indonesian official insists the reduction of Corby’s sentence formed part of an agreement with Australia to be less harsh in the treatment of young Indonesians arested as crews of boats used for people smuggling.

Carr retorted that while that may well be the Indonesian view, he denied any such linkage. He said the decision by Australia was made solely on the basis that it was inappropriate for his county to house children in an adult prison.

The Schapelle Corby case has garnered worldwide attention, with the Queensland hairdresser adamant in her denial of any involvement in the smuggling of 4.2 kilograms of marijuana into Indonesia, claiming Australian baggage handlers planted the drugs in her luggage.

Rosleigh Rose, Corby’s Mother, told reported on May 23, 2012 that she plans to fly to Bali in July to bring her daughter home to Australia.

Presidential Remission Widely Criticized

Many have criticized President Yudhoyono’s granting of a 5-year remission in sentence to Schapelle Corby as inconsistent with the government’s commitment to fight narcotics use.

A former cabinet minister and legal expert, Yusril Ihza Mahendra, said the remission for the Australian was in opposition to an official moratorium in place since 2006 on the granting of remissions to those convicted of corruption, narcotics offenses, terrorism and trans-national crime.

He sees the presidential move as most unfortunate, representing the first time in the history of Indonesian jurisprudence that the President of the Republic has given a remission to a foreigner convicted of a narcotics crime. In fact, prior to the most recent decision, the President has never granted leniency in a narcotics case to either an Indonesian or a foreign national.

“A great fuss was made over the moratorium on granting remissions to narcotics offenders. But, now, the President has given a pardon,” complained Yusril.

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