A 57-year old British grandmother is set to be executed by firing squad in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, after that country’s Supreme Court rejected the appeal of her sentence after she was convicted of smuggling more than 10 pounds of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase when she entered the scenic island of Bali.
If the sentence is carried out, Lindsay Sandiford would become the sixth person put to death for drug offenses since 1998 in Indonesia, which has among the most harsh drug laws of any country in the world.
Prosecutors accused Sandiford (pictured) of taking part in an international cocaine smuggling ring when she was arrested after transporting the drugs from Bangkok, Thailand in May of last year. Prosecutors wanted a 15-year sentence, but a judicial panel shocked everyone involved, handing down the ultimate penalty instead.
Sandiford has maintained that she was coerced into carrying the cocaine, with an estimated value of $2.5 million, into Bali. The British human rights organization Repriece backed her case, saying that the grandmother was a pawn of ruthless drug dealers who “"exploited her vulnerability and made threats against her children.”
Three other defendants were convicted in connection with the smuggling operation, but none was sentenced to more than six years and one has already been freed from an Indonesian prison.
“It is clear that Lindsay was merely a vulnerable mule, exploited by those further up in the chain who have avoided serious punishment," said Zoe Bedford of the Reprieve organization.
A spokesperson for the British Embassy in Jakarta said that Sandiford’s home country will stromgly back any further measures to win a repeal of her death sentence. But she has only two options remaining.
She can apply for a judicial review, which is difficult because she would need to present new evidence exonerating her, or prove negligence on the part of judges who decided her case.
He other option is an appeal to Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for a pardon.
SOURCES: BBC News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution