May 23 - Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr says there was no prisoner exchange deal to secure an early release for convicted Bali drug trafficker Shapelle Corby. Sarah Sheffer reports.
Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr applauds Indonesia's decision to cut five years off of a 20-year jail sentence for Australian female drug trafficker Shapelle Corby. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SENATOR BOB CARR, SAYING: "I welcome the decision by the Indonesian president. He's a great man, he's a great friend of Australia's. He's made the right decision, and we welcome it." Corby was caught with about 4 kg of cannabis in a surfboard bag in Denpasar airport in 2004. Her prison sentence, once set to end in 2022, will now expire in 2017. Contradicting Australian media reports, Carr explained that the move was not part of a deal linked to the recent release of three Indonesian youth from Australian prisons. (SOUNDBITE) (English) AUSTRALIAN FOREIGN MINISTER, SENATOR BOB CARR, SAYING: "We made the decision about three minors because it is simply the right thing to do, and plainly indecent to have kids from fishing boats that have been used for people smuggling stuck in our prisons, our adult prisons. And if that creates a level of warmth in Jakarta, a level of comfort that enables them to make this decision, that's fine. But at no stage was there a notion with the Australian government that we will trade that for this," Australian media said Corby might be released from prison even earlier, if she is given parole. Sarah Sheffer, Reuters