Indonesia threatened to revoke parole for convicted Australian drug mule Schapelle Corby yesterday, warning her to “keep a lower profile” after a documentary about her release angered authorities.
Corby, 36, whose case has been closely followed in Australia since her 2004 arrest in Bali, was freed on parole last month from a prison on the resort island.
However, a documentary broadcast on Sunday by Australia’s Channel Seven, which featured an interview with Corby’s sister, Mercedes, brought a threat from Indonesia’s justice minister.
“There is a big possibility [that Corby’s parole] will be reconsidered,” Indonesian Minister of Justice Amir Syamsuddin was quoted by Indonesian daily Kompas as saying.
Syamsuddin said he was awaiting a report from provincial-level justice officials in Bali, where Corby is living. She must remain in Indonesia until 2017 as a parole condition.
Officials in Bali have summoned Corby’s family to demand an explanation over the documentary, and yesterday warned against further contact with the media.
“I suggest Corby keep a lower profile,” Bali prison official Sunar Agus said, adding that officials were prepared to “use force” to return her to prison if parole was revoked.
The media exposure is being interpreted as an affront in Indonesia, where convicted law-breakers are expected to exhibit remorse.
Officials have also raised suggestions that Corby may be profiting from the exposure, amid speculation of a financial deal with Channel Seven, which has denied the rumors.
In its midday news report yesterday, Indonesia’s widely watched Metro TV branded the situation a “scandal.”
The documentary included video of Corby’s first moments back with her family after her parole. Mercedes Corby told Channel Seven her sister was “broken” by her time in jail, and described having to bathe and hand-feed her.
Syamsuddin said he “deeply regrets” the Channel Seven program, saying he suspected the family did it for financial gain.
“Just to defend this one person, Corby, I experienced a lot of pressure, and there have been all sorts of issues. They must be understanding,” Syamsuddin was quoted saying, referring to Corby’s family.
Corby was arrested in Bali in 2004 when airport customs officials found 4.1kg of marijuana stashed in her surfing gear. She was convicted the following year and sentenced to 20 years in jail.
Mercedes Corby told Channel Seven the drugs “could have been from Indonesia,” suggesting she had been set up.