UK gran appeals Bali death sentence

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REUTERS

Lindsay Sandiford (R) of Britain, accompanied by her translator, reacts as she listens to the judge during a trial in Denpasar at the Indonesian resort island of Bali.

Denpasar, Indonesia -

A British grandmother convicted for smuggling cocaine into the resort island of Bali filed an appeal on Monday against her death sentence by firing squad, a court official said.

Lindsay Sandiford, 56, was handed the death penalty last Tuesday for smuggling almost five kilograms of cocaine worth $2.4 million into Indonesia last May.

“Today, she officially submitted a statement to the prison saying she would file an appeal. The prison then contacted us,” Denpasar district court registrar Gede Ketut Rantam told AFP.

“She filed the statement on her own and so far she has not appointed a lawyer,” he added.

In a copy of the statement seen by AFP, Sandiford said she was “filing an appeal against the decision of the Denpasar district court on January 22”, without giving other details.

A detainee at the infamous Kerobokan prison in Denpasar where Sandiford is being held, told AFP that the Brit “was stressed and always crying”.

“We understand her feelings so we leave her alone. She sleeps on the mattress and spends her time knitting,” said the female Indonesian prisoner, who shared the same cell as Sandiford and declined to be named.

When contacted, her defence lawyer during the trial, Esra Karokaro, said he had neither met Sandiford nor had she contacted him over the appeal since the sentencing. He earlier said Sandiford had been “devastated” by the court's verdict.

The appeals process in Indonesia typically takes several years to complete, including protracted hearings at the High Court and Supreme Court, before the final resort of seeking presidential clemency.

Authorities had claimed Sandiford was at the centre of a drugs ring, which had been described as “a huge international syndicate”.

She was found guilty of carrying the cocaine into the country in a suitcase, on a flight from Bangkok, but argued that she was coerced and that her children had been threatened.

After Sandiford's arrest three other Britons were detained in connection with the same drugs ring, but two of them were cleared of trafficking charges and received light sentences.

A third one, Julian Ponder, will be sentenced on Tuesday. He was also cleared of smuggling charges and now faces a lesser charge of drug possession, which is punishable by life imprisonment instead of death. Prosecutors recommended a seven-year sentence.

Indonesia enforces stiff penalties for drug trafficking, but death penalty sentences are commonly commuted to long jail sentences. The last execution was in June 2008, when two Nigerian drug traffickers were shot.

Two Australians are on death row after being arrested in 2005 for smuggling heroin. - Sapa-AFP


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