Minister says no swap deal in Corby`s clemency

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Minister of Law and Human Rights Amir Syamsuddin said there had been no prisoner swap deal in connection with the clemency for Schapelle Leigh Corby recently.

"We do not recognize a prisoner swap. It has no legal umbrella or no law regulates it," he said after opening a national working meeting of his minister at the office of the vice president here on Thursday.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issued a decision dated May 15, 2012 to give a clemency to Corby, an Australian citizen jailed for 20 years for smuggling marijuana, reducing her sentence by five years.

Amir said based on experience special attention given to a citizen of a country where many Indonesians are facing legal problems will usually lead to that country also giving special attention to the Indonesians.

As an example he referred to the clemency Indonesia once gave to six Malaysian nationals. "Although no agreement was made Malaysia later released eight Indonesian citizens facing heavy sentences including a death sentence there."

A similar case was also recorded in Saudi Arabia, he said adding the Indonesian government once reduced the sentence of a Saudi national and after that he received information from a lawyer advising Indonesian citizens in that country that the Saudi King had given special attention to the case of the Indonesian citizens who faced a heavy sentence.

Amir also said there was no political pressure in connection with Corby`s clemency.

He said the government had so far always been blamed and criticized as having paid no attention when a citizen was facing a death sentence in other countries.

In view of that, he hoped the people would judge objectively and appreciate the government`s move in connection with its decision to reduce Corby`s sentence.

Amir said Corby would not immediately become a free person following the clemency but could only enjoy her freedom in September, 2012 and only upon a guarantee.

He also said that it was not only Corby that had been given a clemency but also a German national and a Nepalese. (*)