Front row, centre at the Schapelle Corby circus

It's the last stand of the Corby circus.

In dramatic scenes outside Kerobokan Prison on Friday, Mercedes Corby had to fight her way through a very pushy press pack after paying her sister a long visit.

Since they arrived on Monday more than 30 Australian journalists have gathered in the tiny car park of the prison, which has become so familiar over the duration of Schapelle Corby's sentence.

They have swarmed at every opening and closing of the prison gates, half expecting to see  Corby's face as they wait for definitive word about her release from Jakarta.

After days of false dawns, spent filming ordinary prison buses and a garbage truck, Friday's rising action came when Mercedes Corby turned up.

After spending more than two hours inside Kerobokan she emerged to face what had now built up to a violent throng.

Whether Mercedes Corby's visit was to provide  her sister with a date for her release was the subject of much conjecture. But she gave no answers when the din had quietened enough for her to speak: "We don't know," she said. "We're waiting for it to be signed."

Media representatives wait outside Kerobokan prison.

Mercedes' husband Wayan, appeared to rule out the possibility his sister-in-law could walk free today.

"We don't know yet," he said. "It's not happening today. Only god knows. We pray. We are all praying [for her release]. She's well."

Contradictory information is coming out of the Justice Ministry in Jakarta about whether her release papers can be faxed to Bali from Jakarta stamped with an immediate release date.

"It's all possible," Goncang Raharjo, a spokesman for the ministry said.

Mercedes and husband Wayan fight their way through the media pack.

Other indications  suggest the cameras could be here for the better part of a week as Corby's papers are processed.

Fifteen minutes later, the cameras in the car park pounced on the postman. He obligingly held up a postcard and a couple of other letters addressed to Corby, but none were from from the Justice Minister.

Towards the back of the press pack are two relaxed producers from a top-rating weekend current affairs show. The Corby family have appeared in the media for the past decade, and just how much Schapelle Corby will command for her first post-prison interview is the subject of intense speculation.

Around the prison daily life continues. In the waiting room, visitors wait for their numbers to be called for their allotted 30-minute meeting time to meet with an inmate.

Hasan Susanto is here visiting his young son, who has spent nine months in jail on murder charges.

"He killed his boss," he said. "He tried to sodomise him; it's a complicated story".

Hasan like many, locals is suspicious about Corby's release and the conditional parole she was granted, unusual for a foreigner: "The real reason is politics".

Some of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's political opponents have made hay with these suspicions,  suggesting special treatment or a softening of his stance on drugs.

But aside from coverage of these political attacks the Indonesian media interest in Corby has been comparatively scant.

A small item ran on the Bali TV news last night. But mainly it is about the Australian journalists.

"I'm here to cover the circus," said one local reporter.

Every so often a group of shirtless Australians in rugby shorts will vaguely recognise a TV presenter in the car park, pull out their camera phones and gawp a while.

And the circus gets bigger.

smh.com.au

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