Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Woman to appeal Bali death sentence

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office says it continues to provide consular assistance to Lindsay Sandiford

A British grandmother sentenced to death by firing squad for smuggling cocaine into Bali has notified Indonesian officials she intends to appeal against the ruling.

Lindsay Sandiford, 56, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was convicted last week of taking 10.6lb (4.8kg) of the drug into the country.

She was accused by the court of damaging the image of Bali and received the sentence despite prosecutors only asking for a 15-year jail term.

A court official confirmed his office had received the appeal request through the head of Kerobokan Penitentiary where Sandiford is being held.

Earlier it was announced that the British government is to be challenged over its failure to fund legal representation for Sandiford, who it is thought cannot afford legal representation for the appeal.

Law firm Leigh Day, which is working with the charity Reprieve, said it would cost around £2,500 to pay for an adequate lawyer to take on her case, but the Government will not pay. The firm said Sandiford, originally from Redcar, Teesside, had not been properly represented since her arrest at Bali airport in May last year.

Rosa Curling, from the firm's human rights team, said: "The UK Government has repeatedly confirmed its opposition to the death penalty. It has a clear legal duty to ensure our client, who has no money to to be able to pay for the basic essentials, let alone legal representation, receives appropriate assistance to be able file an appeal against her death sentence. (William) Hague must not allow this to happen - he must immediately ensure Ms Sandiford, a British citizen, is provided with the opportunity to challenge her sentence and file an appeal."

The firm is seeking a judicial review of the Government's decision not to pay the £2,500 legal expenses for Sandiford. A hearing at the High Court in London will be held before Thursday.

Following the call for a judicial review into Sandiford's case, Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood has urged the Foreign Office to rethink its policy on support for Britons sentenced to death abroad. "Indonesia itself now pays for lawyers to represent its migrant workers facing the death penalty in countries like Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and China," said Mr Horwood. "I don't think it's unreasonable for Britons abroad to expect the same kind of support from their own government in this kind of extreme and unusual situation."

The MP met Foreign Office officials last week to ask them to support her search for urgent legal representation, and he is due to meet the Indonesian ambassador to discuss the legal process in Indonesia.

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