Sir Richard Branson responds to smuggler on death row

Lindsay Sandiford Image copyright AFP
Image caption Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death in Indonesia in 2013

Sir Richard Branson has responded to an appeal by a British drugs smuggler on death row in Indonesia.

Lindsay Sandiford, 58, from Cheltenham, who is facing death by firing squad, wrote to Sir Richard after he spoke out against recent executions.

She asked him to "help promote the fundraising effort my supporters have begun to pay for a final appeal against the death penalty".

Sir Richard said he was following Ms Sandiford's case closely.

"I strongly believe that the death penalty is a cruel and inhumane punishment, and every execution is one execution too many," the Virgin Group founder said.

"We are following Lindsay Sandiford's and other cases closely and fully support efforts that are currently underway to aid her appeal."

'Executed at any time'

Ms Sandiford has been in jail since 2012 after arriving in Bali from Thailand carrying drugs with a street value of £1.6m.

Last week, she paid tribute on her Facebook account to Myuran Sukumaran and her "good friend" Andrew Chan, two of the eight prisoners who were shot dead last month.

Ms Sandiford, who is originally from Redcar in Teesside, said she could be "executed at any time" as she did not have "any proper legal representation" during her trial.

She appealed to Sir Richard to use his "influence and position to speak out" on behalf of people on death row.

Another appeal against Ms Sandiford's conviction due to be put before the Indonesian Supreme Court was being prepared, her lawyer has said.

A campaign to raise funds for her appeal has raised just over 16,200 New Zealand dollars (£7,975).

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