Briton sentenced to death for drug smuggling in Indonesia

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A British woman has been sentenced to death in Indonesia for drug smuggling. Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was found guilty of breaking the tough drug laws in place in Indonesia at the Denpasar district court yesterday, having being found with 10.6 lb of cocaine, worth about £1.6m, in the lining of her suitcase at Bali's main airport in May last year.

Lawyers for Ms Sandiford, who is originally from the town of Redcar in Teesside, England, said the ruling "surprised" them, and they would appeal. U.K. Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire expressed his strong objection to the decision and said the U.K. opposed the use of the death penalty. "We are aware that Lindsay Sandiford is facing the death penalty in Indonesia. We strongly object to the death penalty and continue to provide consular assistance to Lindsay and her family during this difficult time," he said.

Ms Sandiford was stopped on May 19 during a routine customs check at Ngurah Rai airport in Bali, after arriving from Bangkok via Thai Airways. She told the court, "I would like to begin by apologising to the Republic of Indonesia and the Indonesian people for my involvement. I would never have become involved in something like this but the lives of my children were in danger and I felt I had to protect them."

Prosecutors were not pursuing the death penalty for Ms Sandiford, instead asking for 15 years in prison.

The court is expected to deliver a verdict in the trial of Julian Ponder today. He was allegedly involved in drug smuggling with Ms Sandiford and Rachel Dougall. Mr Ponder is accused of receiving the drugs from Ms Sandiford in Bali. He denies the accusations, saying he was expecting delivery of a birthday present for his child from Ms Sandiford.

In the court verdict against Ms Sandiford, a panel of judges said she had damaged Bali's image.

Although 114 Indonesian prisoners are sentenced to death, including about 40 foreigners most of whom are drug-crime convicts, no executions have taken place since 2008.


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