British woman sentenced to death on drugs charges in Indonesia

Featured - January 22nd, 2013
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A British woman was sentenced to death on Tuesday in an Indonesian court for smuggling cocaine into the resort island of Bali.

56-year old Lindsay Sandiford was arrested at Bali’s international airport in May, allegedly with 4.79 kg (10.6 pounds) of cocaine stashed in her suitcase and had argued that she was forced into transporting the drugs in order to protect her children whose safety was at stake, AFP reports.

The court rejected the argument, saying there were “no mitigating circumstances” to allow for leniency, and that Sandiford had not admitted her crime wherein she undermined Indonesia’s hard-line stance on drugs.

“We found Lindsay Sandiford convincingly and legally guilty for importing narcotics… and sentenced the defendant to death,” judge Amser Simanjuntak told Denpasar district court.

“Her action was against the government’s effort to combat drug use in the country and she insisted that she never committed the crime”.

The verdict stunned Sandiford’s defence team who was expecting a lenient sentence of just 15 years imprisonment. Sandiford’s lawyer said it would likely appeal against the sentence.

“We object to the sentence. We never expected that our client would get the death penalty,” said counsel Esra Karokaro.

A representative from the British Embassy refused to comment.

Police claimed Sandiford was the ringleader of a drug importing ring with three other Britons and an Indian who have also been arrested. Two other Britons involved in the case received light sentences last month.