UK & World News
Bali: Death Penalty For British Drug Smuggler
British woman Lindsay Sandiford has been sentenced to death for drug smuggling on the Indonesian island of Bali.
The 56-year-old grandmother, originally from Redcar, Teesside, had been found guilty of violating the country's strict drug laws.
Sandiford was arrested in May 2012 at Bali airport when customs officers found 3.8kg of cocaine worth £1.6m in her luggage. She claimed she had been forced to smuggle the drugs into Bali from Thailand by a criminal gang.
Prosecutors announced in December that they would be recommending a 15-year prison sentence, after she agreed to co-operate in a sting operation in which police swooped on four other suspects alleged to be her accomplices, including Britons Rachel Dougall, Julian Pounder and Paul Beales.
Pounder is accused of receiving the drugs in Bali, where cocaine and ecstasy are often bought and sold between foreign nationals. A verdict is expected in his trial on Wednesday.
Delivering Sandiford's verdict, a judge panel headed by Mr Amser Simanjuntak said that Sandiford had damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination and weakened the government's programme of drug annihilation.
"We find Lindsay Sandiford convincingly and legally guilty of importing narcotics. We found no reason to lighten her sentence," said Mr Simanjuntak.
In her witness statement, Sandiford said: "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."
Local journalist Amelia Rose was in court when Sandiford was sentenced.
"She was in shock, but she managed to hold her composure and stand up while the judge read out her sentence," she said.
"Her eyes turned red from tears for a second but she managed to hold her composure again.
"There is still a long way to go before an execution can take place. She can appeal to the High Court then the Supreme Court in Jakarta. If she can present new evidence she can have a judicial review.
"Then there is also the chance of clemency with the President."
Sandiford's defence lawyer, Esra Karo-Karo, said: "She was very shocked. This is unpredicted, she never thought of receiving the death penalty.
"The judge did not even consider our reason for leniency as we proposed in our defence. We will appeal."
A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We can confirm that a British national is facing the death penalty in Indonesia.
"We remain in close contact with that national and continue to provide consular assistance and the UK remains strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.
"We will intervene at whatever stage and level is judged appropriate and will use high-level political lobbying when necessary".
Dougall, whose young daughter is reportedly being cared for by their maid and gardener on the island, has claimed she was the victim of a "fit-up".
Reprieve, a charity which seeks to enforce human rights for prisoners, said Sandiford was targeted by drug traffickers.
Spokeswoman Harriet McCulloch said: "Lindsay was targeted by drug traffickers who exploited her vulnerability and made threats against her children.
"Following her arrest, she was interrogated by the Indonesian police without a translator, legal representation or the assistance of the British Embassy for 10 days.
A statement by Dr Jennifer Fleetwood, an expert on the coercion of women in the international drug trade, was also read out, which suggested that Sandiford's "vulnerability" would have made her an ideal target for drugs traffickers.
"There is evidence to suggest that a trafficker would seek someone who was vulnerable. Having reviewed extracts from Lindsay's medical records I know that Lindsay has a history of mental health issues.
"This may have unfortunately made her an attractive target for threats, manipulation and coercion by one or more parties over a period of time, which led to her being stopped at Ngurah Rai International Airport".
At the end of 2011 there were 13 British nationals sentenced to death and awaiting execution, and approximately 40 British prisoners facing charges that may attract the death penalty.
Indonesia has 114 prisoners on death row, according to a March 2012 study by Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy. Five foreigners have been executed since 1998, all for drug crimes, according to the institute.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has granted clemency to four drug offenders on death row since he took office in 2004.
what do you think?
Stupid to break laws abroad.lets hope britain puts enough pressure on the bali authoritys to save her.
We don't know the facts, Shaun. Coersion and set-ups aren't unheard of.
Why if you brake there laws you pay the price how about the poor victims of drugs
I made this comment this morning when newsed was quite different.didnt say she lived there.
Didnt say anything about coersion neither, if this is the case she should have reported it as she should have known the punishments given out in the country where she lived.
Regardless of the consequences if u are getting coerced u should ring the embassy and report it not give in!
That is the kind of sentencing which we should be having in the UK.
So you presumably feel the same about anyone who illegal imports alcohol or cigarettes, both of which are as if not more dangerous, into the uk then?
Bring sentencing to drug barons an murders here in Britain
You may not know that if someone gets caught with the same amount of stuff on them here they will go to prison for at least 7 years, probably more; but the press "forget" to mention this.
The Indonesian government is one of the most corrupt. It is guilty of genocide, torture and murder in East Timor and still oppresses its own people.
and still this women decided to go there with her child!!! why?
Stevie. And this is good reason to allow a drug smuggler to walk free ??
It is, in the majority, a very nice place to go for a holiday. You're just upset over this woman being found guilty after committing a blatant crime. Or and that she was a British perp.
As If they're going to kill her! That'd bring the spotlight on their own, appalling domestic record and they wont want that.
It is, in the majority, a very nice place to go for a holiday. You're just upset over this woman being found guilty after committing a blatant crime. Or and that she was a British perp
Allan Booth - Staff
She knew what she was doing and she got caught... Bo Hoo. Should try that here
get her out, this is ridiculous.
Leave her there it's more sensible
She was caught with almost 4kg's of class 'A' drugs. She deserves locking up as both a deterrent & her own punishment. You saying 'this is ridiculous' is actually quite ridiculous.
Do you think she's innocent then, Andrea?
I'm not sure ridiculous is the right word Andrea - have you seen the awful consequences of drug taking - while this woman would have ended up living it up with loads of money from causing it, threats or not.
You're just upset over this woman being found guilty after committing a blatant crime. Oh and that she was a British perp
Not that I actually disagree with you Andrea, but aren't you the one always saying what a drain these the terrible druggies are on your taxes etc. Surely anything that stops that is a good thing in your eyes. Julie, although she obviously did it, if she was forced into it by threats to her family, do you not think that changes things? What would you do in the same situation? Matt, same question as Julie. Sally, if she has been forced into it, do you really think she's going to be getting a huge wad of cash at the end of it? Drug mules are usually paid a pittance and do it through desperation, or in this case, possibly coercion.
Having read the case notes I feel that the death penalty is not justified in this case. 15 years and a fly infested Indonesians jail far better punishment.
where can i view the case notes?
In Tim's head, the same place most of his view forming 'evidence' can be found.
I have no sympathy for this woman who peddled misery and degradation, in my opinion she should receive the full vengeance of the law. It was only yesterday we read of a baby dieing through being able to get at methadone and thats not counting those by the mental decay of their parents who have their lives wrecked while still in the womb.Thousands of perhaps otherwise useful citizens die each year through the misuse of drugs and that apology of a woman is just one link in this murderous chain. Saying that her own children were threatened by senior traffickers seems to be the excuse of choice for those who are also indicted...........But dont worry all you do gooders and weeping hearts out there she will probably be free in a couple of years and living from the profits of her vile trade. As far as Im concerned she should be left to r*t like her victims
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Bang on the button Russell its simple really no smugglers no supply , no dealers no profits no drug lords so get her strung up protect our children from peer pressure
Russell, please don't use the death of a child to peddle your ignorant views. There are fewer deaths per year from ALL illegal drugs combined than from alcohol or tobacco, both things which children can also get at if left around unsupervised. Do you believe we should get rid of them too and lock up anyone involved in their supply or are they okay because the government (who of course are completely honest and open about these things) says they are. After all, that would save the lives of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of 'otherwise useful citizens' wouldn't it. Adj, that conveniently forgets that people can grow some drugs themselves, and that often more dangerous legal highs will always be there to plug any supply holes. You can't solve a problem through ignorance.
She ensures the safety of her child by endangering thousands of other children with drugs.
And faced with the same consequences you would of course sacrifice your own children.
IF she was telling the truth, obviously her death would be a travesty. HOWEVER, it should be noted that many low lifes go for the "victim" defence. IF she has peddled death she deserves everything she gets.
I have much sympathy with the view that if you peddle death and get caught then accept the consequences. This does seem harsh though given that she cooperated with an operation to catch more of the gang and it was more than the prosecution demanded. The usual excuses are being peddled- - threats, mental illness, vulnerability etc but surely she must have known these people in the first place to get mixed up with them. I suspect this sentence has passed down to really frighent her and will eventually be commuted to a jail sentence
Typrical Brit - break another country's laws and then whine about it. I don't suppose for one moment she will get the death penalty in the end, and although she may have felt her children were in danger (no specifics there you notice) she still cooperated in the sting operation so ... why not do that in the first place? We've all seen it on the DTV - "random" searches are very rarely that, particularly where dogs are used. She was a fool.
if she was put in a situation where her family were in danger, how sad i am for her. but if we had the death penalty here perhaps that would stop some of the terrible things that are now happening in this country.....
why not go to the police before she went to the airport then we could beleive she was under threats to carrry these drugs...if she wad got through customs it would just be more drugs on the street,,,,this should happen all over the world.smuggle drugs you die...so if gangsters threaten to hurt your family go to the police straight away ..then you might have a chance ,,but every time this happens with a brittish person the same excuse is used
She cooperated and put her children in danger then.