Lindsay Sandiford is a British grandmother sentenced to death in Bali, Indonesia.
Lindsay had never been in trouble with the police before, but in March 2012, convinced her son would be in danger from criminal gangs if she refused, she agreed to carry a suitcase from Bangkok to Bali, Indonesia.
She was stopped at the airport in Bali and taken for interrogation by customs officials. The Indonesian authorities failed to inform the British embassy that she had been arrested – in breach of their international obligations – and she was held for ten days before anyone knew what had happened.
Lindsay does not speak the local language and says that, during those ten days, she was not appointed either a lawyer or a translator, and was deprived of sleep and threatened by the authorities with a gun.
Since being transferred to police custody on 28 May 2012 Lindsay has had three different Indonesian lawyers, none of whom have provided her with effective legal assistance. The first lawyer appointed by the Indonesian police stole money from her and made no effort to investigate her case or represent her interests in police interrogations. She believes that he also bribed prison officials to get journalists into the prison and then tried to demand money from these journalists for access to Lindsay.
On 4 October 2012 Lindsay appeared in court without a lawyer. Her trial commenced and the indictment was read out. She faced three charges, two of which carry the death penalty. Lindsay was also unrepresented at the next hearing because she was unable to find a lawyer to assist her pro bono.
Dr Jennifer Fleetwood, an expert on women exploited in the international drugs trade, has given evidence to Denpasar District Court. She concluded that Lindsay was coerced and has found that “there is…evidence to suggest that a trafficker would seek someone who was vulnerable. Having reviewed extracts from Lindsay’s medical records I know that Lindsay has a history of mental health issues…This may have unfortunately made her an attractive target for threats, manipulation and coercion.”
The prosecutor announced on December 20 2012 that he would be asking the judges to impose a sentence of 15 years, rather than the death penalty. Yet on 22 January 2013 a panel of judges sentenced Lindsay to death.
Lindsay has until February 5 2013 to appeal her sentence. She has no money and cannot even afford basic essentials, let alone legal representation. She desperately needs the help of the British Government to make sure that she is able to file an appeal. Without help, she may end up being killed by a firing squad in Bali.