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Australia, Indonesia on verge of prisoner treaty
Tuesday Mar 6 - By ninemsn staff Australia is finalising negotiations with Indonesia for a prison exchange treaty that will allow Schapelle Corby, Renae Lawrence and others to serve the remainder of their sentences back home.

The Indonesian Justice Minister, Hamid Awaludin, told The Sydney Morning Herald that the treaty will be signed after a final meeting in Australia.

"Everything is fine, from my side we are done," Awaludin said yesterday in Jakarta, after meeting the Attorney General Phillip Ruddock.

However, the Indonesian minister said he is still awaiting clarification as to how the prisoners will be monitored from overseas.

"[We need to know] what sort of mechanism we have to establish on both sides so the prisoner can be checked on a regular basis, whether through our embassies in both countries, or any other sort of mechanism."

Ruddock said that as far as Australia is concerned, "there is absolutely no difficulty in terms of control mechanisms. It's something that can be worked out very easily."

He refused to give a "daily commentary" as to when the treaty would be finalised and signed.

Awaludin said the treaty would not apply to prisoners on death row, as their sentence could not be carried out in Australia.

It would apply to inmates not on death row, such as Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby and three members of the Bali Nine heroin smuggling group.

The agreement would apply to all Australian inmates in Indonesia, and all Indonesian inmates in Australia, not just high-profile cases.

"We are not talking about individual cases. If in fact some individual cases get advantage out of it, thank God," Awaludin said.

Under the deal, the prisoners transferred would serve the same sentence they received in the country where they were convicted.

The transfers would not be automatic, and prisoners would have to apply to be sent home.

It has been suggested that Corby would not want to return home, as Bali's Kerobokan prison is reportedly more relaxed than many Australian jails.

Schapelle could come home
March 06, 2007

AUSTRALIA is set to finalise a prisoner exchange deal with Indonesia to allow Schapelle Corby and some of the Bali Nine to serve their sentences here.

Convicted drug smugglers including Corby and Bali Nine members not on death row, such as Renae Lawrence, are prisoners who would benefit.

According to reports, the treaty should be signed after a final meeting in Australia, the Indonesian Justice Minister Hamid Awaludin said after meeting Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock in Jakarta yesterday.

Both countries are still to agree on protocols for checking on repatriated prisoners, but Mr Ruddock was confident Australia could easily accommodate the requirement.

But he would not put a date on when the treaty would be signed.

The retrospective treaty would not apply to those condemned to death as Australia could not carry out that punishment, Mr Awaludin said in media reports today.

Under the deal, prisoners transferred from either country would serve the same sentence, minus remissions, that they would have if they had stayed.
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