By Gerald Heneghan
A British woman has been sentenced to death for drug trafficking in Indonesia.
Lindsay Sandiford, a 56-year-old from Gloucestershire, was found carrying 4.8 kilograms of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase in Bali last May, during a routine customs check.
She claimed she had been forced to bring drugs, thought to be worth around £1.6 million, to the island, stating that traffickers had made threats against her family.
“I would never have become involved in something like this but the lives of my children were in danger and I felt I had to protect them,” Ms Sandiford said.
Her lawyers expressed surprise at the verdict and stated their intentions to appeal. Prosecutors had called for a 15-year sentence of imprisonment for the grandmother, but the presiding judges claimed there were no mitigating circumstances.
Ms Sandiford had previously issued apologies to the Republic of Indonesia and its citizens for her involvement in the crime.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed the details of the situation and revealed that the organisation continues to provide consular assistance.
“The UK remains strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances,” she said.
In their verdict, the panel of judges, led by Amser Simanjuntak, suggested that Ms Sandiford had weakened the country’s anti-drugs programme and hurt Bali’s image as a destination for tourists.