British woman faces death penalty for smuggling drugs into Indonesia
Washington: A British woman has been sentenced to death after she was found smuggling cocaine worth 1.6 million pounds in her baggage at the resort island of Bali in Indonesia.
The woman, Lindsay Sandiford, said in her defence that she was forced to smuggle the 3.8 kg cocaine into Bali from Thailand by a criminal gang, to protect her children's lives, Sky News reports.
A panel of judges pronounced the verdict on Sandiford, saying that she had damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination and had weakened the government's fight against drug trafficking. According to Sandiford's defence lawyer Esra Karo-Karo, the jury did not consider their plea for leniency.
However, they would be appealing to the higher courts, Karo-Karo added. Harriet McCulloch, spokesperson for a charity organisation Reprieve, said Sandiford was targeted by drug traffickers who threatened to harm her children and thus exploited her vulnerability.
Dr Jennifer Fleetwood, an expert on the coercion of women in the international drug trade, suggested in a statement that Sandiford has mental health problems, which made her a possible target for the smugglers.
Sandiford, who was arrested in May 2012, was earlier given a 15-year sentence by prosecutors in return for her cooperation in a sting operation in which police found four other suspects alleged to be her accomplices, according to the report.
The suspects included British nationals Rachel Dougall, Julian Pounder and Paul Beales.