Lindsay Sandiford: Inside British grandmother’s Bali prison as she awaits execution by firing squad

Teesside woman has spent nearly a decade on death row in the notorious Kerobokan prison

Liam James
Tuesday 10 May 2022 09:36
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Related: Lindsay Sandiford, accused of smuggling drugs arrives in an Indonesian court

A British grandmother is waiting to be executed in a Bali jail.

Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death in 2013 by an Indonesian court for trafficking cocaine and faces death by firing squad.

The 65-year-old from Teesside is being held in the Kerobokan prison on the tourist-packed island of Bali.

Kerobokan is one of Indonesia's most notorious prisons and holds around 1,000 more inmates than the 357 it was built for in 1979.

ABC News said in a 2017 report from inside Kerobokan that almost 80 per cent of its prisoners are in on drug charges.

At the time of Sandiford’s arrest, there were 90 prisoners awaiting execution in Kerobokan.

Main entrance of Kerobokan prison in Bali – file photo

Drug laws in Indonesia are extremely strict – about half of the country's prisoners are drug offenders – and traffickers are dealt with brutally.

The government in Jakarta found itself in a diplomatic crisis in 2015 when two Australians convicted as part of a heroin smuggling squad were executed by firing squad.

Inmates in Kerobokan – file photo

Indonesia is in a minority of countries to retain the death penalty in law.

Twelve foreigners were executed in 2015 in total, all on drug charges.

Inmate in her cell at Kerobokan in 2017

Sandiford has been on death row for years and efforts by the British state to intervene have failed.

A date for her execution has not been set.

Shower in a Kerobokan cell

She has repeatedly insisted she was manipulated and used as a mule to transport the cocaine as a means to protect her sons, aged 22 and 24.

She launched an appeal to have her sentence reduced but it was rejected, as the majority of appeals for drug offences are.

Sandiford knits in her cell at Kerobokan in 2019

Her holding place has a reputation as one of Indonesia's toughest prisons.

Kerobokan has seen several riots in the past decade alone, some of them deadly.

Inmates share a cell at Kerobokan

The New York Times reported that staff are bribed by wealthier inmates to give them drugs and even let them out on trips.

And despite Kerobokan being a high-security prison, breakouts are not unheard of.

Tourists walk by the perimeter wall of Kerobokan in 2017

Four foreign inmates made their escape in 2017 by digging a 50ft tunnel under the prison walls from an open courtyard.

The prison saw another major breakout in 1999 in which prisoners set fire to their mattresses and overwhelmed the guards trying to contain the flames. Almost 300 prisoners escaped.

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