Aussie drug smuggler deported home after 12-years in jail

Police escort Schapelle Corby from the parole office in Denpasar, Bali on Saturday prior to her deportation to Australia. The 39-year-old former beautician trainee served nine years in prison and three years on parole for smuggling 4.2 kilogrammes of marijuana into Indonesia in a case that became a sensation in her home country. (EPA Photo)

Indonesia on Saturday deported Australian drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, whose trial and imprisonment on the tourist island of Bali mesmerised her homeland for more than a decade.

About 200 police officers were deployed to secure her deportation in Denpasar, Bali’s capital, said Ida Bagus Adnyana, who heads Bali’s Justice and Human Rights office. “Corby signed a document to end her parole. She is completely free now,” he said.

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Corby was escorted by officials to Ngurah Rai airport where she was expected to take a Virgin flight back to Brisbane.

She was arrested in 2004 at the age of 27 after customs officers at Bali’s airport found 4 kilogrammes of marijuana inside her boogie board bag, sparking a media frenzy in Australia on par withthe OJ Simpson trial in America.

Many Australians felt the former trainee beauticianhad been harshly treated under Indonesia’s strict drug laws, even though Corby could have faced the death penalty for trafficking.

Adding to the drama and public interest, the court hearings were broadcast live and included emotional outbursts from Corby and her family when she received a 20-year sentence.

“Australians became so besotted with the case,” said Janine Hosking, who made the documentary Ganja Queen about Corby’s case. “She doesn’t look like how we would imagine a drug trafficker to look; she looks like the girl next door.”

“People will speculate forever on this case,” Hosking told Reuters previously, adding that the media attention had worked against her even if it made her a star. Many Australians also began to doubt her claims of innocence as time passed.

Corby’s sentence was later cut after a request for clemency to then president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and she was released on parole in 2014.

Under her parole conditions, Corby had to keep in close contact with correctional officers while living at the Bali home of her sister Mercedes, trying to stay out of the public eye as the media tracked her every move.

According to the head of the parole office, Surung Pasaribu, Corby had been fearful of the constant media coverage, and he said the Australian government had asked his office to ensure her safety ahead of her departure to Brisbane on Saturday night.

“All that’s left is to sign some letters,” Pasaribu said on Saturday afternoon, after which she would be handed over to immigration officials at the airport.

In an Instagram post (@schapelle.corby) on Saturday, Corby told her more than 61,000 followers, “Good bye to this parole paper work. Approaching parole office for the last time.” -AAP

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