Brit sentenced to death in Bali 'was well-known drug dealer'
Lindsay Sandiford faces firing squad after Indonesian judges over-rule recommended jail sentence
A BRITISH grandmother sentenced to death earlier today for smuggling cocaine into Indonesia is not the innocent she professes to be, but a well-known dealer, according to a writer with knowledge of the Bali drugs scene.
Lindsay Sandiford, 56, had been in custody since she was caught with 10.6lb of cocaine hidden in the lining of her suitcase when she arrived on a flight from Bangkok last May. She claimed she was set up by a gang and only trafficked the drugs because "the lives of my children were in danger".
She faces death by firing squad if her appeal fails. According to the Daily Telegraph, the Foreign Office is in touch with her. A spokesman said: "The UK remains strongly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances."
There was shock in the Bali courtroom when the judges decided to over-rule the recommendation of prosecutors who had asked for only a 15-year jail sentence.
"We found no reason to lighten her sentence," said Judge Amser Simanjuntak. A member of the judge's panel, I Gusti Agung Bagus Komang Wijaya Adi, said Sandiford had tainted the image of Bali as a tourist destination, and added: "The defendant's action also went against the government's efforts in tackling drug smuggling."
Sandiford's reputation as a drug dealer was laid out for The Times by Kathryn Bonella, who has written about the narcotics scene in her book Snowing in Bali.
"Lindsay was known to traffic hashish into the island," said Bonella. "She used to bring it in from India and sell it on to one of my contacts, but had recently moved into cocaine."
But even Bonella was surprised by the death sentence. "Usually the judges give about the same as or less than what the prosecutors demand."
Sandiford, originally from Redcar in Teeside, has seven days to file an appeal, a process that could take years. If that fails then, in theory, she will face a ten-man firing squad - though no foreigner has yet been executed in Bali.