Indonesia executions: British grandmother on death row Lindsay Sandiford to lodge final appeal against conviction

Sandiford was sentenced after she was found with cocaine as she entered the country through Bali - she could face execution by firing squad within weeks

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The Independent Online

Lindsay Sandiford, the British woman facing execution in Indonesia after being found guilty of drug trafficking, is to lodge a final appeal against her conviction – her “last hope” to avoid death by firing squad, possibly within weeks.

Sandiford, 59, was sentenced to death in January 2013 after she was found with cocaine worth £1.6m as she entered the country through Bali. The grandmother admitted to carrying the drugs but claims she was coerced into it by threats against her son’s life.

Lawyers say they will use her final appeal to explore the possibility that coercion to carry the drugs amounted to human trafficking – an avenue which has not previously been argued on her behalf, and a move that her representatives described as “the most significant step” in her case.

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British housewife Lindsay Sandiford is facing possible execution yesterday after being arrested on suspicion of smuggling £1.6m worth of cocaine into Bali

New Zealand lawyer Craig Tuck, who is representing Sandiford and has travelled to Britain to obtain new material to support her appeal, said: “Indonesian law says if you are a trafficked person you must be acquitted on that basis. That defence has never been run.”

He added: “I’ve been taking detailed instructions from her in relation to the coercion element, more information about the transnational cartel of one of the Bali drug lords that was operating with her, or against her, and the degree of exploitation. They are all important factors that have not been put in front of the court.”

The Indonesian authorities rejected an earlier appeal of the sentence. Sandiford is seeking funds to help pay for the cost of the case, as the British diplomatic service is not providing legal support on cost grounds.

Medical records suggest that Sandiford had a history of mental illness and may have been particularly vulnerable to coercion. Lawyers say important legal procedures were overlooked when the case was first heard, meaning she still had strong grounds for her final appeal.

“She’s definitely a vulnerable person who has been caught up in a system. The victim aspect is there and that’s what we’re researching to a greater degree,” Mr Tuck said. “This appeal is the strongest that I have seen in decades. From start to finish, the [original] trial process and appeal process was a train wreck.”

However, the lawyer said the timing of the appeal was critical, and that it was important to handle the case sensitively. Last month, eight convicted drug smugglers, including two Australians, were executed.

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