Schapelle Corby: 'Ganja Queen' trafficker deported from Bali

Media caption,
Schapelle Corby faced a media scrum on her last day in Bali before leaving for Australia.

Convicted Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby has returned to Brisbane after nine years in prison and three years on parole in Indonesia.

The former beauty therapist was arrested in 2004 at Bali airport with 4.2kg of marijuana hidden in surfing gear, and sentenced the next year.

Her case affected foreign relations between Australia and Indonesia and outraged many Australians, with some viewing her sentence as too harsh.

She proclaimed innocence throughout.

Hundreds of police officers were deployed to assist with Corby's departure. Her sister Mercedes, who lives in Indonesia, shielded her from journalists' cameras as they walked to a car.

Corby then posted a video on Instagram of the media scrum seen behind the vehicle's tinted windows.

She was taken in a convoy from her Bali villa to the airport, to catch a flight to Brisbane.

Upon her landing, at about 05:00 on Sunday local time (19:00 Saturday GMT), she and her sister were reportedly ushered to a waiting convoy of vans.

Corby has also posted a picture of her dogs on her new Instagram account, saying she would miss them.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Australians have been transfixed by Schapelle Corby's case for years

Indonesia's drug laws are much stricter than Australia's with no distinction being drawn between marijuana and other drugs including heroin and cocaine.

In 2015 two other Australians were executed after being found guilty of smuggling drugs.

Analysis - Phil Mercer, BBC News, Sydney

In February 2014, Schapelle Corby, arguably Australia's most infamous overseas prisoner, was released from Bali's Kerobokan jail, but she was forced to remain on the Indonesian holiday island as part of her parole.

For the past three years, she has lived quietly with her Indonesian boyfriend in relative anonymity in the tourist hub of Kuta, swimming and jogging on the beach with the occasional night out.

Life back home as a convicted drug trafficker in Queensland will, however, be very different. Here, Corby is a household name and, certainly in the short term, she will be pursued relentlessly by the media.

When she was arrested 13 years ago she became a national obsession, and so she remains. Australia is still divided; is she guilty or, as she continues to claim, the victim of a conspiracy involving corrupt baggage handlers who planted more than 4kg of cannabis in her luggage?

There is no such debate in Indonesia, however. There, the former beauty therapist is seen simply as a common criminal.

In Australia Corby has commanded public sympathy as local media followed her struggles with mental illness behind bars. However in Indonesia she is seen as a criminal.

Bali corrections chief Surung Pasaribu said: "We will pray for her that she will repent. God wants humans to return to the right path."

Ms Corby's sentence was cut by five years after an appeal to the Indonesian president, and she also received several remissions for good behaviour.

Although she was released from prison in 2014, she could not leave Bali under her parole conditions for three years.

Corby was the subject of a 2007 documentary, "Ganja Queen".

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