British grandmother on death row for trafficking cocaine

British grandmother sentenced to death for drug smuggling

A British grandmother was sentenced to death by firing squad in January for smuggling drugs into Bali. Lindsay Sandiford, aged 56 from Gloucestershire, was arrested in May last year in an airport in Indonesia after it was discovered she was smuggling cocaine worth £1.6 million in the lining of her suitcase into the resort island of Bali. The former legal secretary broke down after a panel of judges in Bali ordered her execution saying that she had brought shame to the resort’s tourism reputation.

British grandmother sentenced to death for drug smuggling
British grandmother sentenced to death for drug smuggling

State prosecutors had called for the 56-year old grandmother to be jailed for 15 years because of her willingness to co-operate with police. However, Bali courtroom was shocked when the verdict was given. Mrs. Sandiford cried as she hid her face under her scarf and later declined to talk to reporters. The others involved in the smuggling were convicted of lesser drugs-related offences and received custodial sentences. Sandiford launched an appeal against the court’s verdict but had no money for representation at appeal as she funded her own defence costs during the initial trial. Funds were subsequently raised to pay for an appeal lawyer and procedure began.

Lindsay Sandiford wept as she received her verdict

In her defence, Sandiford claimed she was pressured into smuggling the cocaine by a gang who were threatening her children. She told police that she had been forced to carry the drugs for Julian Ponder, a British antiques dealer living in Bali, and his partner Rachell Dougall, and she co-operated with police in a sting operation to arrest them. It was arranged that she would meet Ponder and another man, Paul Beales, at a hotel where police would arrest them. Dougall was arrested after a subsequent search of the property she owned with Ponder found 48.94 grams of cocaine. However, they received much lighter sentences.

Sandiford will face death by firing squad after losing her appeal. A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are disappointed to hear that Lindsay Sandiford’s appeal has been refused by the High Court in Bail.“The UK strongly opposes the death penalty and has repeatedly made representations to the Indonesian government on this matter.”

Speaking from Kerobokan prison in Bali, Lindsay Sandiford, 56, said: “I would rather a death ­sentence than a life sentence. At least a bullet is quick. I don’t want to get old and decrepit in here.”

Do you agree with such a harsh sentencing? She claims she was protecting her children and co-operated fully with police and helped them to arrest the gang who planned the smuggling. While they receive sentences less then 6 years is it right that she is killed by a firing squad?

About Julie Browne 7 Articles
3rd year Journalism and Visual Media Student in Griffith Colelge

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