Substance Abuse

British Grandmother Gets Death Sentence in Indonesia for Drug Smuggling

A 56-year-old British woman prosecuted in Indonesia for drug smuggling was sentenced to death by firing squad.

According to the Daily Mail, Lindsay Sandiford entered the island of Bali in May 2012 with a 10.6 lb of cocaine, worth approximately $2.6 million, stashed in the lining of her suitcase. She confessed that she was forced to transport the drugs into the country because of threats against her children in Britain.

While prosecutors had asked for a 15-year sentence given Sandiford’s age and cooperation with Indonesian authorities, the judges ruled for death penalty.

The panel of judges argued that Sandiford shamed Bali’s tourism reputation and said they have no intention to lighten her sentence.

Sandiford, a former legal secretary, was one of the four Britons who were caught and prosecuted for smuggling cocaine into the country. Antiques restorer Julian Ponder, 43, from Brighton, his 39-year-old partner Rachel Dougall and 39-year-old Paul Beales, were also arrested for the crime.

“We remain in close contact with that national and continue to provide consular assistance,” a spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said. “The UK remains strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.”

Indonesia has one of the strictest drug laws in Asia. There are more than 100 prisoners on death row in the country, most of them convicted of drug crimes.

Sandiford can still make an appeal within 14 days and her chances of escaping the firing squad may now depend on a series of legal challenges.

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