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04 March 2024

Grandmother appeals Indonesia death sentence


A British grandmother sentenced to death by firing squad for trafficking drugs into Indonesia lodged an appeal to the High Court on Monday, her lawyer said.

Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was sentenced to death on January 22 for smuggling nearly five kilos (11 pounds) of cocaine worth $2.4 million into the island of Bali in May, despite prosecutors recommending only a 15-year jail term.

"We've made an appeal to the High Court, and we'll wait for one month to 90 days for a response," Sandiford's lawyer Fadillah Agus told reporters outside Denpasar district court.

He said the death sentence "was not fair" and "not proportional" because Sandiford had cooperated with police to net four others in the drug ring, including three Britons who received far lighter sentences for their roles.

Sandiford appointed Agus as her lawyer last week after losing a High Court bid in London to make the British government pay for a lawyer to help her appeal, which the charity Reprieve estimated would cost 2,500 pounds ($4,000).

Judges in London dismissed Sandiford's bid, saying her case had "no reasonable prospect of success", drawing criticism from rights groups against capital punishment.

Agus said Sandiford was "scared" of her fate, while the drug ring's "real mastermind", whom he did not identify, had received a lesser sentence.

Julian Ponder received the harshest punishment of the other Britons arrested, sentenced to six years' jail.

Sandiford argued she was forced into transporting the 4.79 kilos of cocaine to protect her children, whose safety was at stake. But the Bali court rejected her claims, saying she had damaged the island's reputation as a tourism destination.

Sandiford can appeal to the Supreme Court if the High Court rejects her bid. After that, only the president can grant her a reprieve.

If all avenues of appeal are explored, the entire process can take years. Two Australians from a group of heroin smugglers known as the Bali Nine have been on death row since 2006 and are now appealing for presidential clemency.

Indonesia has not executed anyone since 2008 but has announced plans to resume executions this year.