Skip to main content

Death penalty for British grandmother upheld in Bali

By Paul Armstrong and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
updated 2:10 PM EDT, Mon April 8, 2013
Lindsay June Sandiford pictured in her cell on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on January 22, 2013.
Lindsay June Sandiford pictured in her cell on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on January 22, 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: UK rights group Reprieve says Sandiford cannot afford to pay for a further appeal
  • The death penalty is upheld against Lindsay June Sandiford, 56, for smuggling cocaine
  • Her lawyer argued that she acted under the threat of violence to her family
  • British Foreign and Commonwealth Office opposed the sentence

(CNN) -- A court in Indonesia on Monday rejected the appeal of a 56-year-old British grandmother sentenced to death for drug trafficking on the island of Bali.

A spokesman for the Denpasar High Court told CNN that it upheld the sentence handed down by the Denpasar District Court in January but gave no reasons for the decision.

Prosecutors in Bali had asked for a 15-year sentence for Lindsay June Sandiford, who was arrested last May carrying what officials said was cocaine worth an estimated $2.6 million.

Sandiford, from northeast England, was found to have blocks of cocaine weighing 4.7 kilograms (10.4 pounds) in her suitcase when she arrived on the island, the court heard during her original trial.

Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office expressed its disappointment at Monday's decision.

Prison life awaiting Lindsay Sandiford

"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 to her at this difficult time."

The UK-based group Reprieve, which works to secure the human rights of prisoners around the world, said neither Sandiford nor her lawyer had yet been formally informed of the outcome of the appeal.

The next step would be to file an appeal with the Supreme Court, Reprieve investigator Zoe Bedford said.

But, she said, "Lindsay's lawyer has exhausted all the funds which were kindly donated by the public and Lindsay's friends and family to cover his expenses for the appeal to the High Court. If her appeal has been unsuccessful, Lindsay will now need to somehow raise the funds for legal representations for an appeal to the Supreme Court."

Read more: Death penalty is what harms Bali's reputation

According to the original trial judges, the defendant showed no regret for what she did, Indonesian state news agency Antara reported.

"We were surprised by the decision, because we never expected the death penalty," Ezra Karo Karo, a lawyer acting for Sandiford, told Antara in January.

She is clearly not a drug kingpin -- she has no money to pay for a lawyer, for the travel costs of defense witnesses or even for essentials like food and water.
Harriet McCulloch, Reprieve

He said the judge did not consider mitigating circumstances in his client's case, such as that she acted under the threat of violence to her family, the news agency reported.

Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has strict laws against drug trafficking.

The head of Bali's Customs and Excise Agency monitoring division, Made Wijaya, warned at the time of her arrest that Sandiford could face execution if convicted.

"The main reason is because narcotics can massively endanger the young and, thus, whoever is caught with drugs should be severely punished. If three people can consume one gram of cocaine, then this operation has potentially saved up to 14,000 lives," he said.

Reprieve has previously said Sandiford was a vulnerable person who should not have been sentenced so harshly.

"Lindsay has always maintained that she only agreed to carry the package to Bali after receiving threats against the lives of her family," said Harriet McCulloch of Reprieve in January.

"She is clearly not a drug kingpin -- she has no money to pay for a lawyer, for the travel costs of defense witnesses or even for essentials like food and water."

The High Court spokesman said the appeal decision was made on April 2 but still needs to be ratified by the lower court.

CNN's Kathy Quiano contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 6:32 PM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
ISIS has slaughtered hundreds. Now nearly 40 nations have agreed to take the fight to the militants. But what can they do?
updated 8:53 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
ISIS has captured the minds of a new generation of global jihadists. What does it mean for al Qaeda?
updated 11:04 AM EDT, Mon September 15, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
updated 11:38 PM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
Treated with all due respect, volcanoes can offer some stunning vistas. Just don't fall in.
updated 1:22 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
The blogger, the hacker, the PM... and Kim Dotcom? New Zealand's election campaign erupts in scandal.
updated 10:36 PM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
In the aftermath of that deadly day, the enemy quickly became clear. But now a plurality of extremist threats tests global resolve.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Soviets put stray dogs into orbit. Then, next thing you know...
updated 5:28 AM EDT, Fri September 12, 2014
Her name is Thokozile Matilda Masipa, and she is the woman who will rule whether Oscar Pistorius is a murderer.
updated 10:48 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
As a 10-year-old, this boy first hit the headlines in 1982 when he saved his cat from a fire. This year, he was reported to be a suicide bomber.
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
After months -- if not years -- of speculation, the tech giant's first foray into wearables has arrived. Here are our first impressions.
updated 4:05 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Bali might be a popular tourist destination but there are crowd-free corners worth exploring.
updated 7:20 AM EDT, Wed September 10, 2014
Scots are preparing to vote on the future of their country. Will they decide to leave the UK?
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT