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Asia-pacific

Frenchman freed on parole after 14 years in Indonesian jail

© AFP

Video by Josh VARDEY , Catherine CLIFFORD , FRANCE 2

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-20

A French national jailed in Indonesia for drug trafficking was released on parole Monday more than 14 years after he was caught smuggling hashish into the resort island of Bali, his mother told the AFP news agency.

Michael Blanc, 40, was sentenced to life in prison after 3.8 kilograms of hashish was found in his diving canisters at Bali airport the day after Christmas in 1999. His sentence was reduced to 20 years in 2008. Blanc has always maintained his innocence, insisting that he was given the diving canisters by a friend.

"He has come out of prison. He has signed his release papers," his mother, Helene Le Touzey, told AFP.

Blanc had been imprisoned in a jail in the south of the Indonesian capital Jakarta. Under the conditions of his parole, he must remain in Indonesia until the end of his sentence, on July 21, 2017.

It is rare for Indonesian authorities to grant a foreign prisoner parole, and his early release raises hopes for high-profile Australian drug trafficker Schapelle Corby.

Corby, jailed for 20 years in 2005 for smuggling marijuana into Bali, has been recommended for early release but the process has been bogged down by bureaucratic wrangling.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-01-20

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