Woman sentenced to die for coke smuggling

Jan. 22, 2013 at 7:20 AM
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DENPASAR, Indonesia, Jan. 22 (UPI) -- An Indonesian court sentenced a 56-year-old British woman to death by firing squad Tuesday for cocaine smuggling.

Lindsay Sandiford and her defense team expressed shock at the sentence because the prosecutors had sought a 15-year jail term since her four co-defendants drew much lighter sentences, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

I Gusti Agung Bagus Wijaya Adi, one of three judges hearing the case in Denpasar District Court in Bali, said "aggravating circumstances" justified the death penalty against Sandiford.

Sandiford claimed she smuggled the drugs because one of the defendants, Julian Ponder, threatened to kill her son. She helped police in the arrest of the other defendants.

But the judge said Sandiford refused to admit the cocaine belonged to her -- she said it was Ponder's -- she gave "twisted and convoluted testimony," and didn't show remorse.

Sandiford wept upon hearing the sentence and declined to comment as she was led back to prison, the British publication The Daily Telegraph reported.

"We object to the sentence. We never expected that our client would get the death penalty," defense attorney Esra Karokaro said. "We will discuss it first with her, most likely we will appeal."

Sandiford was arrested in May when police found more than 10 pounds of cocaine in her suitcase lining, the Morning Herald said. After being caught, she agreed to deliver the package to Ponder. The delivery led police to Ponder, whom Sandiford said was the ringleader. Rachel Dougall, Paul Beales and an Indian citizen, Nandagopal Akkineni, also were arrested.

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