Australian drug mule may face parole problem: minister

Indonesia's justice minister said Thursday that convicted Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby may face difficulties in meeting the requirements for parole.

The 35-year-old was eligible to file for parole last September after receiving a six-month sentence cut to her jail term, but has yet to lodge an application.

Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsuddin said that as a foreigner, Corby must obtain letters from several parties to guarantee she will comply with parole conditions and find employment in the resort island of Bali.

As Corby will be required to stay in Bali if granted parole, she must obtain a letter of guarantee from the village head where she plans to lives.

"I don't think it will be so easy," he told reporters at Kerobokan prison on the island, where Corby is held.

"First she needs the guarantees. Then she will have to work and that also won't be easy," Syamsuddin said, adding that authorities would have to examine her case and consider how she would meet her daily needs.

The Australian government earlier this month sent a letter of guarantee to support Corby's planned application, explaining she would report regularly to Australian consular officials in Bali.

Corby received a 20-year jail sentence in 2005 for smuggling 4.1 kilograms (nine pounds) of marijuana onto the island.

She has received remission several times, including a five-year sentence cut last May after the president granted her clemency.

Kerobokan prison warden I Gusti Ngurah Wiratna said earlier that seven prison officials would evaluate whether Corby deserves parole.

Sixteen foreigners have been paroled in Indonesia, but none yet in Bali, according to Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr.

Australia was also pressing for a prisoner transfer agreement with Jakarta, Carr said earlier, in the hope that Corby could serve out her parole back home.

Indonesia enforces stiff penalties for drug trafficking, including life imprisonment and the death sentence.