British Women Gets Death Sentence for Drug Smuggling in Bali

Posted January 22nd, 2013 at 4:25 am (UTC-5)
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An Indonesian court has sentenced a British woman to death for attempting to smuggle drugs into the resort island of Bali.

Fifty-six-year-old Lindsay Sandiford cried when she heard the sentence Tuesday, but did not comment as she was escorted back to jail.

Although Indonesia has notoriously strict drug laws, the sentence was harsher than expected. Prosecutors had recommended only 15 years in prison.

A panel of judges at the Denpasar District Court said there was no reason to lighten Sandiford's sentence, saying she had damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination.

Sandiford was arrested in May at Bali's international airport with 4.8 kilograms of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase. She says a criminal gang threatened to hurt her children if she did not transport the drugs, which had a street value of $2.5 million.

Her lawyer says she will appeal the verdict.

Two other British citizens have received lighter sentences for their role in the case. A fourth is expected to be sentenced at the end of the month.

Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy says Indonesia has 114 prisoners on death row, although no executions have taken place since 2008.

Condemned criminals there face death by firing squad. But death sentences are sometimes commuted to lengthy prison sentences.