Schapelle Corby: Australian drug trafficker freed from Bali jail

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Media captionAlice Budisatrijo: Corby is expected to live in Indonesia until 2017

Convicted Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby has been released on parole after nine years in prison in Bali, Indonesia.

Corby was convicted and jailed for 20 years in 2005 for trying to smuggle marijuana into the tourist island.

Her case has attracted intense interest in Australia, with prolonged public debate over her guilt or innocence.

But many in Indonesia saw the former beauty student as a criminal who broke tough drugs laws.

The 36-year-old has protested her innocence since she was caught entering Bali in 2004 with marijuana hidden in one of her bags.

She was granted parole on Friday in Bali but it was only implemented on Monday.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Schapelle Corby was ushered out of court amid a media and police scrum
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Corby's case has attracted much interest in Indonesia and Australia
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Corby was held in Bali's notorious Kerobokan prison

Corby was escorted out of Bali's notorious Kerobokan prison and in to a waiting minibus.

She left prison with her face obscured by a hat and scarf, amid chaotic scenes as dozens of Australian reporters and TV crew waited to capture the moment of her release.

She was then taken to complete parole formalities in the Balinese capital, Denpasar.

"We asked her how she was. She cried and said she was still feeling traumatised due to all the journalists," AFP news agency quoted Agung Bagus Kusimantara of the Bali prosecutors' office as saying.

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Media captionSchapelle Corby's mother, Rosleigh Rose: "I just started screaming and crying"

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Correspondents say that she is unlikely to be able to return to Australia immediately because she will have to remain in Indonesia until 2017 to fulfil the conditions of her parole.

She is expected to stay with her sister Mercedes, who lives in Bali.

Corby had received several remissions throughout her sentence because of good behaviour. Five years was shaved off it in 2012 after an appeal for clemency to the president.

Indonesian Justice Minister Amir Syamsuddin had announced the parole on Friday, the culmination of a protracted legal process that repeatedly ran into bureaucratic obstacles.

While the minister's announcement was welcomed in Australia, it drew criticism from some Indonesian lawmakers and an anti-drugs group, who said it violated anti-drugs laws that are supposed to be stringently enforced.

But Mr Syamsuddin said that the granting of that parole was a "right regulated by law".

Canberra has supported the parole application since it was lodged in October 2012.

"The decision by Indonesia's minister for law and human rights is welcomed," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said on Saturday.

"I hope that she's now given some privacy as she gets her life back together," Ms Bishop said.

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