Lindsay Sandiford loses Bali death sentence appeal

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani: "It's not game over"

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Briton Lindsay Sandiford has lost her appeal against her death sentence in Bali for drug trafficking, a Bali High Court spokesman has said.

The court on the Indonesian island upheld the sentence handed down to the 56-year-old in January.

Sandiford, of Gloucestershire, says she was coerced into smuggling 4.8kg (10.6lb) of cocaine.

She was arrested after a flight from Thailand in May 2012 and accused of being at the centre of a drugs ring.

Following her conviction earlier this year, the prosecution recommended 15 years imprisonment but a panel of judges later sentenced Sandiford to death by firing squad.

'Long process'

The appeal judges ruled the original decision was "accurate and correct," the court spokesman said, adding that Sandiford would be informed of the decision as soon as possible.

The high court, sitting in the island's capital Denpasar, gave her 14 days to appeal to the Supreme Court starting from the day she is informed of the verdict.

If the Supreme Court rejects her appeal, she can seek a judicial review of the decision from the same court. After that, only the country's president can grant her a reprieve.

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani - in the Indonesian capital Jakarta - said the appeal decision had come back quite quickly, given the way the country's legal system worked.

Undated image of Lindsay Sandiford. Family Handout via Reprieve Charity Sandiford's case has been taken up by the human rights charity, Reprieve

She said it would be a long process for Sandiford, with many death row drug smugglers languishing in jails for up to 10 years.

"Indonesia has very strict drug laws and the maximum penalty for drug trafficking is death by firing squad but it is very rare that it actually is delivered," our correspondent said.

There are currently 71 prisoners convicted of drug charges on death row in Indonesia and 41 of them are foreigners, she added.

Last month, the authorities in Indonesia carried out their first execution for more than four years. Adami Wilson, a Malawi national convicted of drugs smuggling, was executed by firing squad north of Jakarta.

'Made threats'

The British embassy in the Indonesian capital issued a statement: "We are disappointed to hear Lindsay Sandiford's appeal has been refused by the High Court in Bali. The UK strongly opposes the death penalty and has repeatedly made representations to the Indonesian government on this matter.

"We will continue to provide consular assistance to her at this difficult time."

At the end of January, Sandiford lost a legal bid in the UK to get the British government to fund a lawyer for her appeal in Bali.

It had been said she was urgently in need of funding to pay for an "an adequate lawyer" because her family had exhausted all their available resources.

But the Foreign Office's policy of not providing legal representation to British nationals overseas was backed by judges.

Her case has been taken up by the British human rights charity, Reprieve, which said Sandiford was "targeted by drug traffickers who exploited her vulnerability and made threats against her children".

Sandiford is originally from Redcar in Teesside but her last UK address was in Gloucestershire. She was arrested after a flight from Bangkok and was accused of being part of a drugs ring involving three other Britons.

One of the Britons, Julian Ponder, 43, from Brighton, was jailed for six years in January after being cleared of smuggling but convicted of possessing 23g of cocaine.

The two other Britons were also cleared of trafficking; one received a sentence of four years for possession and the other a one-year term for failing to report a crime.

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