British Grandmother Lindsay Sandiford Sentenced to Death for Drug Smuggling

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Lindsay Sandiford of Gloucestershire was arrested in May of last year after she attempted to smuggle more than 1.6 million pounds-worth of cocaine into Indonesia from Thailand, according to The Daily Mail.

Sandiford, 56, had almost five kilograms of cocaine stuffed into her suitcase at the time of her arrest in Bali.

Indonesian prosecutors were seeking a 15-year sentence for the British grandmother, but courtroom judges instead elected to call for a much more severe punishment the death penalty. Should the sentence be carried out, Sandiford would be taken to a clearing on a small Indonesian island, given a blindfold, tied to a pole and have her execution carried out by a firing squad.

Although the death penalty is the standard sentence in Indonesia for possessing such a large amount of drugs, Sandiford believed that she had a chance to be granted a lighter sentence both because of her cooperation with authorities in the matter and because of her age.

The panel of judges was inclined to uphold the verdict because they felt that Sandiford’s actions weakened the government’s ability to fight against drugs as well as damaged Bali’s image as an attractive destination for tourists.

In the next 14 days Saniford is expected to appeal the ruling, which will then begin a series of legal proceedings. If all else fails, she will have to seek clemency from the president.

“We object to the sentence,” her lawyer Esra Karokaro said, according to reports. “We never expected that our client would get the death penalty.”

Saniford also has the support of her home country, though it remains to be seen what, if any, diplomatic actions will be taken. A spokeswoman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “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 UK remains strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances.”