Schapelle Corby, Convicted Drug Mule and Australia's Sweetheart, Granted Parole

Image: Schapelle Corby, Convicted Drug Mule and Australia's Sweetheart, Granted Parole

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 01:04 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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Schapelle Corby, the woman who became something of an Australian celebrity after she was convicted in Indonesia of being a drug mule in 2005, has been granted parole. 

The attractive Corby, who has maintained her innocence throughout the case, was slapped with a 20-year sentence for reportedly smuggling nine pounds of marijuana in her bag at the Denpasar International Airport in Bali in 2004. BBC News reported this week that she was granted parole after receiving a five-year sentence reduction by the Indonesian president after an appeal for clemency. 

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However, Corby will not be able to leave Indonesia until 2017, as her parole conditions require her to stay in the country.

Corby's case became something of a media frenzy in her native Australia.

"Not since Lindy Chamberlain, jailed and eventually acquitted of killing her own daughter, Azaria, in 1980, has there been a more divisive female Australian inmate nor such a feast of lurid headlines, allegations, and political pressure points," Peter Fray, editor of PolitiFact Australia, told BBC News.

"Much of it has been pure tabloid. Where consensus can perhaps be found is on the length of her sentence: many Australians believe it was too long. A poll in May 2012 in Fairfax Media found 43 percent in favor of her gaining clemency, even though 60 percent of those surveyed agreed she was guilty as charged."

Corby's sister, Mercedes Corby, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in a 2012 interview that the case has resonated with average Australians, according to Agence France-Presse. 

"A lot of people come to Bali and a lot of people love Bali; I just think it was a bit of a shock," Mercedes Corby told ABC at the time. "She could have been your sister, your daughter, your friend just going on holiday, and this is what happened."

Corby is often portrayed in the Australian media as a victim of the drug culture in Indonesia. Corby has maintained that the drugs found on her were planted.

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