British woman could face death in Indonesia for smuggling cocaine to Bali
A British woman was indicted in an Indonesian court Thursday on multiple drug charges including smuggling cocaine to the resort island of Bali, which could see her face the death penalty.
Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May upon arrival at Bali’s Denpasar airport on a flight from Bangkok after customs officials found 4.79 kilograms (10.6 pounds) of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase.
“The defendant acted against Indonesian law in smuggling illegal drugs classified under category one into the country,” prosecutor Lie Putra Setiawan told the Denpasar district court.
Indonesian law divides drugs into three categories, the first listing those considered most serious, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines.
“This offence carries a maximum penalty of death,” Setiawan told reporters after the session.
Sandiford, who also faces charges of possession and selling narcotics, covered her face with a piece of cloth as she passed dozens of reporters to enter the courtroom.
She appeared with only a translator, saying she had been given no access to a lawyer in prison, and requested more time to find one.
The panel of judges went ahead with the hearing, having postponed the trial last week for the same reason, but said they would appoint her an attorney for the next session.
Three Britons and one Indian national connected to Sandiford were also arrested in a sting in May. The trial of one of the British men was scheduled to open Thursday after Sandiford’s hearing.
The drugs found in her suitcase had an estimated street value of around $2.5 million, customs officials have said.
Indonesia enforces stiff penalties including life imprisonment and death for drug trafficking.
Two members of an Australian drug smuggling gang known as the “Bali Nine”, who were arrested in 2005, are on death row, while seven others face lengthy jail terms.
Another Australian, Schapelle Corby, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for smuggling 4.1 kilos of marijuana in 2005, recently had her term slashed by five years after a clemency appeal to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.