Bali drugs case: Lindsay Sandiford loses death sentence appeal

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Lindsay Sandiford has said she was coerced into smuggling cocaine

A British woman sentenced to death for drug trafficking in the island of Bali has had her appeal rejected.

An Indonesian Supreme Court spokesman said it would not overturn the sentence handed down by two lower courts on 57-year-old Lindsay Sandiford, of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

Sandiford was sentenced to death by firing squad in January for smuggling 4.8kg (10.6lb) of cocaine.

The UK Foreign Office said it would continue to support her and her family.

'Right decision'

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani, in the Indonesian capital Jakarta, said three judges on the Supreme Court panel rejected the appeal because it judged the district court and the high court had made the "right decision".

The court spokesman said Sandiford's lawyer had yet to be informed of the decision.

Our correspondent added Sandiford still had the option to file a judicial review - but only if she could present new evidence or show the judges in her case were negligent.

Image source, Yudi Karnaedi / Barcroft Media
Image caption,
Rachel Dougall and Julian Ponder were also convicted in connection with the case

Following the verdict the Foreign Office reiterated its "strong opposition" to the death penalty.

"We will consider how to support any application for judicial review or clemency that Lindsay Sandiford chooses to make," it said in a statement.

"We will continue to provide consular assistance to Lindsay Sandiford and her family at this difficult time."

The FCO added that it would continue to make representations to the Indonesian government about the case.

'Drug smuggling ring'

The Indonesian authorities said Sandiford was at the centre of a drug smuggling ring that brought cocaine into the island of Bali from the Thai capital Bangkok in May 2012.

Following her conviction, the prosecution recommended 15 years imprisonment but a panel of judges later sentenced Sandiford to death.

Zoe Bedford, from legal charity Reprieve, said the decision was "deeply disappointing".

"It is clear that Lindsay was merely a vulnerable mule, exploited by those further up in the chain who have avoided serious punishment," she said.

She urged the UK government to "step in" and ensure that Sandiford was given legal advice to help find new evidence that would enable her to launch a judicial review.

Sandiford, originally from Redcar in Teesside, had claimed she was coerced into carrying £1.6m ($2.5m) of cocaine found in the lining of her suitcase during a routine customs check at Bali's airport.

She has since raised more than £10,000 in public donations to fund her court costs.

Sandiford's case had been taken up by the British human rights charity Reprieve, which said she was targeted by drug traffickers who "exploited her vulnerability and made threats against her children".

Three other Britons and an Indian national connected to the case were jailed for terms ranging from one to six years.

One of the defendants - 39-year-old Rachel Dougall from Brighton - was released in May after serving a year in an Indonesian jail.

Her partner, 43-year-old Julian Ponder, and another Briton, Paul Beales, were sentenced to six and four years respectively.