AFP & Made Arya Kencana
Denpasar. An Indonesian court on Tuesday sentenced a 56-year-old British grandmother to death for smuggling cocaine into the resort island of Bali.
“We found Lindsay Sandiford convincingly and legally guilty for importing narcotics… and sentenced the defendant to death,” judge Amser Simanjuntak told Denpasar district court.
Sandiford was arrested at Bali’s international airport in May with 4.79 kilograms (10.6 pounds) of cocaine stashed in her suitcase. Police have said she then helped mount a sting to net three Britons and an Indian on drugs charges.
The harsh sentence came as a surprise after prosecutors last month recommended Sandiford serve only 15 years in jail, saying she deserved leniency as she had admitted her crime and behaved politely in court.
However, another judge on the panel, Bagus Komang Wijaya Adi, said Tuesday “there are no mitigating circumstances” to allow for leniency in the case.
“All evidence was incriminating against the defendant,” he said.
Indonesia enforces stiff penalties against drug trafficking, with penalties of death and life imprisonment.
Following Sandiford’s arrest in May, Bali Police arrested three other Britons, namely Paul Beales, Julian Anthony Ponder and Rachel Lisa Dougall, and Indian national Nandagopal Akkineni.
The Bali court earlier sentenced Beales, Dougall and Akkineni to four years, one year and five years in jail, respectively, while Ponder is facing seven years in prison, as demanded by prosecutors.
Sandiford appeared pale and refused to say anything as she was escorted to her cell at the court after Tuesday’s hearing.
Her sister Hillary Parsons cried hysterically upon hearing the sentence.
Sandiford’s lawyer Esro Karo said they would consider an appeal.
“Judges did not take into consideration any mitigating factors in the verdict. We will likely file an appeal,” Esro said.
[Updated at 4:44 p.m.]