Indonesian Court Sentences British Woman To Death For Smuggling Cocaine
By Amrutha Gayathri | January 22, 2013 7:58 PM EST
An Indonesian court Tuesday sentenced a 56-year-old British woman to death on charges of smuggling cocaine.
Lindsay Sandiford was arrested at Bali's international airport in May after she was found carrying 4.8 kg (10.6 pounds) of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase.
“We found Lindsay Sandiford convincingly and legally guilty for importing narcotics... and sentenced the defendant to death," Denpasar district court judge Amser Simanjuntak pronounced.
Although Indonesia's strict smuggling laws stipulate the death penalty, “few executions are carried out,” according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
In December, Sandiford made an apology during her trial, saying that she felt “really terrible” for her crime, reported the Jakarta Globe.
“I feel really terrible, ashamed and horrible,” Sandiford told Simanjuntak, the judge presiding over her trial.
During the trial, Sandiford said she had committed the crime because Julian Anthony Ponder, another British national, who is on a separate trial, threatened to kill her son.
Sandiford said that Ponder made the threat via phone in March. She added that she was ordered to go to Bangkok May 12 to smuggle the cocaine to Bali, the Globe report said.
“When I arrived at the Bali airport, I was afraid. I knew I had made a mistake but I was worried about my son,” she said.
According to the indictment, Sandiford told investigators she was supposed to hand the cocaine over to Ponder.
A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office said the UK remained “strongly opposed” to death penalty in all circumstances.
"We can confirm that a British national is facing the death penalty in Indonesia. We remain in close contact with that national and continue to provide consular assistance,” the Guardian reported.
According to a BBC report from Bali, “there was an audible gasp of surprise in the courtroom when the verdict was delivered.”
The harsh sentence came as a surprise because the prosecution had recommended 15 years in jail, saying Sandiford admitted her crime and that she had no prior convictions, the report has said.
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