British woman Lindsay Sandiford sentenced to execution in Bali attempts to sue Foreign Office over 'failure to support her case'

Lindsay Sandiford claims the British Government had breached an obligation to a citizen

Click to follow
Indy Politics

A British woman sentenced to death by firing squad in Bali after being convicted of smuggling drugs into the country is attempting to sue the Foreign Office over what she says is its failure to support her case.

Lawyers for Lindsay Sandiford, 56, today said that they had filed for a judicial review at the High Court, claiming that the British Government had breached an obligation to Mrs Sandiford as its citizen.

She was sentenced to death at Denpasar District Court last week after being caught attempting to smuggle £1.6 million of cocaine into Indonesia. She insisted that she had been simply been trying to protect her adult sons, one of whom had been threatened by a drugs gang who suspected him of being a police informant, she has said.

Today a spokesman for the legal charity Reprieve said that Ms Sandiford, having exhausted her family’s finances to pay for a trial lawyer, now had no money to pay for an appeal – which involves filing a complicated legal document in Indonesian, a language she does not speak, by 12 February.

Solicitors Leigh Day & Co has filed for judicial review on Friday on Ms Sandiford’s behalf against the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, arguing that: “In failing to make arrangements for an adequate lawyer to represent the Claimant's interests the Defendant is acting unlawfully, in breach of its obligations as a matter of EU law, to take all reasonable steps to ensure that she (a) does not face the death penalty, (b) is not subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment, (c) is not tortured and (d) receives a fair trial.”

Harriet McCulloch, investigator at Reprieve, said: “Everyone knows that capital punishment means that those without the capital get the punishment. Lindsay’s poverty means that she has ended up sentenced to death after a manifestly unfair trial.

A spokesman for the FCO said that it did not fund lawyers for Brits arrested abroad: “We are not able to provide legal representation overseas. But we do identify potential legal representation and work closely with non-governmental organisations.”

He added:  “We are aware that Lindsay Sandiford is facing the death penalty in Indonesia. We strongly object to the death penalty and continue to provide consular assistance to Lindsay and her family during this difficult time.

“We have made repeated representations to the Indonesia authorities and the Foreign Secretary raised Lindsay Sandiford’s case with Dr RM M Marty Natalegawa, Indonesian Foreign Minister during the recent November State Visit of the Indonesian President.

“We understand that under Indonesian law, Lindsay has at least two further avenues of appeal through the courts as well as an opportunity to apply for Presidential clemency should these be unsuccessful.”

Ms Sandiford was unrepresented at various points during her case and although her family eventually raised the money to pay for a trial lawyer he did not speak English and had no capital trial experience. Ms Sandiford was sentenced to death despite the fact that the prosecution sought a 15 year sentence