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British grandmother facing execution by firing squad in Indonesia signs own death warrant


Lindsay Sandiford

Lindsay Sandiford


Lindsay Sandiford

A British grandmother sentenced to death in Indonesia believes she has signed her own warrant after being convicted of drugs offences.

Lindsay Sandiford, 58, who is from Redcar in Yorkshire, could be the next foreigner to face a firing squad in the country after she confirmed the death sentence issued to her.

Ms Sandiford was convicted of smuggling cocaine to the party-island of Bali in 2013, but claims she smuggled the drug because a crime syndicate said they would harm her sons if she refused. She fears her execution could be imminent.

She says she was made to a sign a letter in Indonesian which she did not understand, and fears it could have been a death warrant.

Speaking from Bali’s Kerobokan Prison, Sandiford told her sister Hilary Parsons in a phone conversation: “If I sign the letter, am I signing my own death warrant? Am I saying, “Go ahead and shoot me?” The letter is in Indonesian so I won’t even know what it says,” according to the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

Last week five foreigners were shot dead by the country’s government after being convicted of drugs offences.

The crackdown comes after Indonesia’s populist new president Joko Widodo pledged to  show no mercy to people convicted of smuggling drugs.

“We want to send a warning to international drug syndicates that Indonesia doesn’t want to be a stopping place, market place or even a place for producers of narcotics,” he has previously said.

The grandmother is currently without legal representation after the Foreign Office refused to fund £38k for a second appeal. She is reported by her family to be suffering from depression.

Last July five UK Supreme Court judges asked the Foreign Secretary to consider providing the woman with legal assistance, but this idea was dismissed by Philip Hammond. She lost her first appeal in the summer of 2013.

Human Rights group Amnesty International told The Independent the letter Ms Sandiford had been asked to sign was believed to be a confirmation that she had exhausted all of her appeals.

She still has a clemency hearing, but this is dependent on the country's new president, who has staked his reputation on executing people charged with drug trafficking.

Amnesty says it has appealed for urgent action to save a further 20 foreign nationals apart from Ms Sandiford.

Indonesia’s new president came to power in October last year on the back of a series of eye-catching promises.

Aside from an acceleration of executions for drug offences, Mr Widodo has also ordered the Indonesian navy to sink fishing boats it finds illegally fishing in the country’s territorial waters.

A Foreign Office spokesperson told The Independent: “We continue to offer consular assistance to Lindsay Sandiford and her family at this difficult time. The UK strongly opposes the death penalty in all circumstances without exception. We have recently made representations about the death penalty to the Indonesian government, and we will continue to do so.”

On the issue of legal representation, the FCO said: “Our policy is that HMG does not pay for legal representation for British nationals overseas. However, we assist British nationals in identifying potential legal representation, including by working closely with NGOs, (for example with Reprieve). It was through Consular staff’s efforts in Indonesia that we were able to identify a lawyer who was prepared to assist Lindsay Sandiford with her appeal.”

Online Editors