Indonesia does not mess around when it comes to its drug policy. A UK woman was sentenced to death Tuesday (Jan. 22) for smuggling $2.5 million worth of drugs into Bali via her suitcase.
Lindsay June Sandiford was found guilty of trying to sneak the drugs into an island resort. The Denpasar District Court handed down the stiff sentence after judges concluded that her act damaged Bali’s image among tourist locations.
Expressing his client’s remorse, Sandiford’s lawyer sought a 15-year sentence. When the verdict was read, the 56-year-old wept. “We had no reason to lighten her sentence,” said leader of the judging panel, Amser Simanjuntak.
Sandiford was arrested last May at Bali’s airport, when immigration officials found 3.8 kilograms (equal to 8.4 pounds) of nose candy hidden in the liner of her luggage. She maintains that she was forced to carry out the plan after her family was threatened. Her co-conspirator, Julian Anthony Pounder, of Britain, will learn his fate next week.
Pounder is accused of getting drugs to patrons among the province’s busy bar and nightclub scene. Two other Brits have also been convicted and sentenced for their role in the drug bust.
Many Asian countries have strict drug policies, making death sentences not uncommon; a fact incomprehensibly to Parliament member Martin Horwood, representative of Sandiford’s Cheltenham constituency in western England. “The days of the death penalty ought to be past,” he said. “This is not the way a country that now values democracy and human rights should really be behaving.”
Lindsay’s story has grabbed the attention of government, and charities alike. Harriet McCulloch of the human rights organization Reprieve, has urged lawmakers to support an appeal. “Lindsay has always maintained that she only agreed to carry the package to Bali after receiving threats against her family. 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.”
As of last March, Indonesia had 114 prisoners on death row. The last person executed was in 1998.
Photo: ABC News
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