A British grandmother arrested on drugs charges in Indonesia was yesterday (22 January 2013) sentenced to death by firing squad in a Bali court.
Lindsay Sandiford, a 56 year old woman from Teeside, was arrested earlier this year. In a judgement handed down yesterday, a panel of judges sentenced Ms Sandiford to death despite the fact that the prosecution sought only a 15 year sentence.
Ms Sandiford says she only agreed to carry the suitcase following months of threats made against her family. In May 2012 she finally agreed to travel to Thailand where, convinced her son would be in danger from criminal gangs if she refused, she agreed to carry a suitcase to Bali, Indonesia.
She says she was too scared to tell anyone, including her partner, what was happening to her until she was arrested on her arrival in Bali, after which she cooperated fully with the police - and was congratulated by the authorities for so doing.
In an expert report submitted to the District Court in Denpasar, Bali, Dr Jennifer Fleetwood concluded that Ms Sandiford’s vulnerability will have made her an ideal target for drugs traffickers.
She noted that: “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.”
Harriet McCulloch, Investigator at the legal charity Reprieve, commented: “Lindsay has always maintained that she only agreed to carry the package to Bali after receiving threats against the lives of her family. She is clearly not a drug king pin – she has no money to pay for a lawyer, for the travel costs of defence witnesses or even for essentials like food and water. She has cooperated fully with the Indonesian authorities but has been sentenced to death while the gang operating in the UK, Thailand and Indonesia remain free to target other vulnerable people.
"Lindsay must file an appeal within the next 14 days and it is vital that the British Government do everything possible to support Lindsay's appeal against the death sentence,” said Ms McCulloch.
* Reprieve: http://www.reprieve.org.uk/