Australia's 'Ganja Queen' returns home

2017-05-28 08:29
A 2005 file photo of convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby. (AP)

A 2005 file photo of convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby. (AP)

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Denpasar - Australian Schapelle Corby was on Saturday deported from Bali 12 years after being convicted of drug trafficking on the holiday island, battling through a media storm in a dramatic end to a saga that has captivated her homeland.

Her final day on the Indonesian island was a blaze of media attention, as she was hustled out of a villa with her face hidden under a scarf and then chased by a huge pack of journalists across Bali before boarding a flight home.

Kilos of hashish

In a final twist, she managed to outsmart the media by heading back to Brisbane on a different flight than had been widely expected, apparently to avoid travelling with a large contingent of reporters.

The day of drama was a fitting finale to a story that has fascinated the Australian public like few others in recent times.

The beauty school dropout was arrested at the Bali airport in 2014 with several kilos of hashish stashed in her surfing gear and was jailed the following year for 20 years.

Corby, now 39, maintained her innocence, insisting the drugs had been planted and received much support back home where some believed she had been set up or was the victim of a supposedly corrupt justice system.

Her sentence was cut due to regular remissions and after an appeal to the president and she served nine years behind bars. She was released early in 2014 but was required to remain on Bali for three years under the conditions of her parole.

Campaign against drugs

Australian media descended on Bali en masse ahead of her homecoming, camping out outside her villa for several days as Corby did her best to stay hidden.

The view of the Australian has been starkly different in Indonesia than in her homeland. She was dubbed "The Ganja Queen" by the local press and received little sympathy from the public, who largely support the country's tough anti-drugs laws.

Despite the controversy surrounding her case, Indonesia has stepped up its campaign against drug use since she was jailed.

Authorities have embarked on a campaign of executions targeting drug smugglers and in April 2015 put to death two Australians along with six other foreigners.

Read more on:    indonesia  |  narcotics

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