Hugo Swire, junior minister at the Foreign Office, said: “We strongly
object to the death penalty and continue to provide consular assistance to
Lindsay and her family during this difficult time.”

Mr Swire said “repeated representations” had been made to the
Indonesian authorities while William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, had
raised the case with his Indonesian counterpart.

Sandiford has two further avenues of appeal and an opportunity to apply for
presidential clemency if those failed. At that point Britain could make a
personal appeal for her life.

For now, said a Foreign Office spokesman, “We will leave no doubt that we
are not happy. We will make sure this stays on the radar.”

Martin Horwood, MP for Cheltenham, where Sandiford lived most recently in
Britain before moving to India, called the sentence a shock.

“The days of the death penalty ought to be past. This is not the way that
a country that now values democracy and human rights should really be
behaving,” he said.

Amnesty International described the sentence as “cruel”.

Sandiford’s lawyer said she would appeal, a process that can take several
years and which usually leads to commutation to long jail sentences. Until
then she will be held Bali’s Kerobokan Prison – one of the world’s most
notoriously hot, dangerous and dirty jails.

Executions in Indonesia are carried out by firing squad, usually at night in
isolated and undisclosed locations.

The last was in June 2008, when two Nigerian drug traffickers were shot. There
are an estimated 140 people are on death row in its jails, a third of them

Explaining the death sentence, the panel of judges said it had decided on the
maximum sentence for a number of reasons, including Sandiford’s convoluted

Lindsay June Sandiford covers her face as customs personnel display
evidence in Denpasar on Bali island (AFP)

“We found Lindsay Sandiford convincingly and legally guilty for importing
narcotics… and sentenced the defendant to death,” Judge Amser
Simanjuntak told Denpasar district court.

“She also didn’t care that the cocaine she smuggled into Bali would have
a big impact on people,” he continued, adding: “What the defendant
has done could tarnish Bali image as a tourism destination.”

Indonesian police said Sandiford, who worked for several years in management
at DTS Legal in Cheltenham, was at the centre of a drugs-importing ring.

Sandiford argued that she was forced into transporting the cocaine in order to
protect her two grown-up sons, whose safety was allegedly at stake.

After her arrest, Sandiford helped police set up a sting operation which led
to the arrest of three other Britons and an Indian man.

The others have received light sentences. Rachel Dougall was sentenced to 12
months for failing to report Sandiford’s crime and Paul Beales received four
years for possession of 3.6 grams of hashish but was cleared of drug

A fourth Briton, Julian Ponder, is expected to hear his sentence at the end of
this month after prosecutors recommended a seven-year jail term.

Despite Sandiford’s claim to be innocent, Kathryn Bonella, an Australian
writer who has researched Bali’s drugs world extensively for a book Snowing
in Bali, was told by a dealer on the island that he had purchased hashish
from Sandiford.

“She used to bring him hashish and more recently moved into cocaine.
Lindsay had a story [in court] but obviously it wasn’t believed,” said
Ms Bonella.

Several major drug dealers had fled Bali as soon as they heard Sandiford had
been arrested and was cooperating with police, she added.

“She tried to snitch and it backfired spectacularly on her, because it
doesn’t get any worse than this. Something has happened here, because the
prosecutors wanted 15 years.”

A former neighbour in Cheltenham described Sandiford as “always up to no
good – a real neighbour from hell”.

Reprieve, the human rights charity, said Sandiford was the first British woman
to be sentenced to death since Linda Carty in the US in 2002. Carty is still
on death row.

Ministers condemn Bali death sentence for drug trafficking British grandmother –
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