Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

UK 'disappointed' at Bali ruling

Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death for drug trafficking (Reprieve/PA)

The Government has said it is disappointed that Briton Lindsay Sandiford has lost her appeal against her death sentence for drug smuggling in Bali.

The Foreign Office also reiterated the UK's opposition to the death penalty and said it had repeatedly made representations to the Indonesian government about this case.

It was announced on Monday that a court in Bali had upheld the death sentence against Sandiford, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, after she was convicted of smuggling £1.6 million worth of cocaine.

After being sentenced to death by firing squad in January, the 56-year-old grandmother lodged an appeal against the decision but that has now been rejected.

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. We will continue to provide consular assistance at this difficult time."

The court spokesman in Bali said the verdict was decided last week and Sandiford has 14 days to appeal to the national Supreme Court.

Sandiford, originally from Redcar, Teesside, was arrested in May when 8.4lb (3.8kg) of cocaine were discovered in her luggage at Bali's airport. She previously told the court that she only became involved in the smuggling because "the lives of my children were in danger".

Human rights organisation Reprieve has previously said it believes there is evidence to show that Sandiford was threatened and coerced into acting as a courier. Indonesia has an estimated 114 prisoners on death row. Most of the more than 40 foreigners among them have been convicted of drug crimes, according to a March 2012 report by Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy.

Reacting to the news, Reprieve investigator Zoe Bedford said Sandiford could now appeal to the Supreme Court, but would need to raise new funds to do this.

"We understand from Lindsay's lawyer that the decision has not yet been handed down to the Denpasar District Court, so neither her lawyers nor Lindsay have been officially informed of the outcome of the appeal," she said.

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