n Renae Lawrence leaves Bangli Prison in Bali, Indonesia after serving a 13-year sentence for drug trafficking. Picture: Amelia RosaAfter more than 13 years behind bars, Bali Nine drug smuggler Renae Lawrence has been released from an Indonesian jail.
Amid chaotic scenes outside the Bangli Prison, the Novocastrian made no comment to a huge press pack as she was bundled into a waiting car by several dozen Indonesian police.
The 41-year-old was freed from the prison in Bali’s mountainous east just after 8pm on Wednesday, and was expected to board an overnight flight to .
But she may not be able to enjoy her freedom for long, with Lawrence facing arrestover her alleged rolein a high-speed car chase in NSW when she lands in on Thursday.
Lawrence, the only woman in the failed 2005 plot to smuggle 8.3kg of heroin into , is the first of the group dubbed the Bali Nine to be released from prison.She was originally given a 20-year sentence but served 13 years and seven months after numerous reductions for good behaviour.
Moments before her release on Wednesday night, Bali justice chief Maryoto Sumadi said that she had completed her sentence according to a decision by the Bali High Court on April 20, 2006.
He said Lawrence had been unable to pay a 1 billion rupiah ($A95,000) fine, which meant that she had been unable to be released six months’ earlier.
“Bangli Prison has conducted a health check and she was deemed healthy and without illness,” he said.
“We have also conducted a hand over between Bangli and the immigration office in Denpasar.
“Because she is a foreigner, therefore, the person is deemed to be in Indonesia without permission … therefore she needs to be released from prison and into immigration office custody.
Renae Lawrence and Bali Nine member Matthew Norman, inset.
“The person [Lawrence] is banned from entering Indonesia and is now on the blacklist that is shared by all immigration offices … the person is banned from entering Indonesia for life.”
Lawrence will be placed in immigration detention at the Bali airport until she flies out of Indonesia.
The convicted drug smuggler will then be taken to Denpasar airport in a convoy of police vehicles and she will be deported by Indonesian authorities, though she may have to spend a few hours in an immigration detention centre while she collects her passport.
Her flight back to was expected to leave at about 9pm local time (midnight AEDT) on Wednesday.
Five members of the Bali Nine are serving life sentences, with little prospect of release in the short-term.
Matthew Norman and Si Yi Chen are both still in Bali’s notorious Kerobokan prison, where Lawrence was initially held. Scott Rush is in Bali’s Karangasem prison, while Michael Czugaj and Martin Stephens are being held in a jail on the island of Java.
Bali Nine ring leaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were both executed on April 29, 2015, while Tan Duc Thanh Nguyen died of cancer in June this year.
Normantold Fairfax Media on Tuesdaythat he wished his friend and fellow Bali Nine member “all the best of luck” on her release, and that he still held out hope he too would one day be released.
University of NSW legal expert Melissa Crouch, who specialises is south-east Asian legal systems, said that Lawrence was being released because of a series of remissions, which are handed out twice a year in the Indonesian legal system to prisoners who are serving a fixed term in jail.
“Lawrence received a combination of general remission and special remissions,” she said.
READ MORE:Prisoner governor praises Renae Lawrence on eve of freedom”General remission depends on the length of the sentence served and is granted on Independence day, 17 August. At least twice in recent years, Lawrence had her sentence reduced by 6 months through the general remission process.”
“She also received special remission on several occasions, such as at Christmas in 2013.”
Unlike fellow convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby, who had to remain in Bali after her release, Lawrence didn’t apply for conditional release so she is free to return to upon release.
“Lawrence’s release is indeed good news, and one small ray of light at the end of the Bali Nine saga for her. Although no doubt returning to and re-adjusting to life here will have its own significant challenges.”
READ MORE:Renae Lawrence ‘just wants to come home’: father