Indonesian Court Upholds Death Sentence Against Briton Lindsay Sandiford For Smuggling 10.6 LB Cocaine To Tropical Island Bali

on April 08 2013 8:23 AM
Sandiford
Lindsay June Sandiford of Britain has been sentenced to death by an Indonesian court after smuggling cocaine worth $2.5 million in her suitcase onto the resort island of Bali. Reuters

An Indonesian court Monday rejected the appeal of a 56-year-old British woman facing the death penalty on charges of smuggling cocaine.

Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced Jan. 22 after she was found guilty of smuggling 4.8 kg (10.6 lb) of cocaine to the tourist-laden tropical island of Bali. She was arrested at Bali's international airport in May last year with cocaine in the lining of her suitcase.

The Bali high court spokesman announced Monday that the court had upheld the death sentence, rejecting an appeal from Lindsay.

The appeal judges ruled the original decision was "accurate and correct," the court spokesman said, adding that Sandiford would be informed of the decision as soon as possible, the BBC reported.

The high court, in the island's capital Denpasar, gave her 14 days to appeal to the Supreme Court starting from the day she is informed of the verdict, the report said. If the Supreme Court rejects her appeal, she can seek a judicial review of the decision from the same court.

After that, she is left with the option of filing a clemency plea with the country’s president.

During the trial, Sandiford said she had committed the crime because Julian Anthony Ponder, another British national, who was jailed for six years in January and fined the equivalent of about $100,000, threatened to kill her son. He was cleared of smuggling but convicted of cocaine possession in Bali.

Two other Britons, accused of being part of a drugs ring involving Sandiford, were also cleared of trafficking; one received a sentence of four years for possession and the other a one-year-term for failing to report a crime, according to the BBC.

Sandiford’s sentence came as a surprise because the prosecution had recommended 15 years in jail, saying she admitted her crime and that she had no prior convictions, but a panel of judges handed her death by firing squad.

Last month, Indonesia carried out the first execution in more than four years. Adami Wilson, a Malawi national convicted of drugs smuggling, was executed by firing squad.

The British embassy in the Indonesian capital expressed disappointment over the rejection of Sandiford’s appeal.

"The U.K. strongly opposes the death penalty and has repeatedly made representations to the Indonesian government on this matter," the embassy said in a statement. "We will continue to provide consular assistance to her at this difficult time."

Earlier this year, Sandiford had lost a legal bid challenging the U.K. government’s refusal to fund a lawyer for an appeal against her sentence.

Her bid was backed by Reprieve, a U.K.-based human rights charity dedicated to assisting incarcerated people worldwide, which wanted the judges to rule against the British Foreign Office's stance that the government could not fund legal representation for British nationals abroad.

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