WILLIAM HAGUE PLEADS WITH INDONESIA NOT TO EXECUTE BRITISH DRUG SMUGGLER – In February 2013 and Indonesian Court in Bali sentenced Lindsay Sandiford, a 56 year old grandmother, to death for attempting to smuggle in £1.6 million of cocaine into the country.
For anyone who as ever visited Indonesia or other Asian countries they will be fully aware of the consequences of drug smuggling. Authorities in Indonesia, Thailand and others have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to drugs and this is mainly due to the damage that the influx of illegal narcotics is already having on their society.
Many feel that Sandiford got the short end of the stick, considering she co-operated fully with the authorities which brought about the conviction of all of the gang members. However Sandiford was the only member of the gang to receive the death penalty while others received as little as 4 years imprisonment for their part in the smuggling operation.
In order to help her case the William Hague MP has intervened and written a letter to the Indonesian authorities appealing for clemency.
The letter apparently expresses deep concern over the trial process and that the death penalty violates Sandiford’s human rights. The authorities have also been accused of abuse during her detention with claims of physical abuse, sleep deprivation and even being threatened with a gun.
The trial itself is also being drawn into question as the Foreign Office reports ‘undue’ delays in notifying them that a British Citizen had been arrested. Furthermore they accuse authorities of not providing adequate legal counsel or a translator during the period of trial and detention.
Many at trial were astonished that Julian Ponder, 43, also a British Citizen and the alleged mastermind of the smuggling operation, was sentenced to just 6 years raising suspicion that members of the judiciary were bought off – this corrupt practice is widespread in South East Asia particularly in Indonesia and Thailand where police and judge often seek a bride to ‘make the charges go away’.
Other members of the gang included Rachel Dougall, 38 who was sentenced to just 1 year and Paul Beales, 40, who was jailed for 4 years.
While I agree there are a number of questions the Indonesian authorities need to answer, and while I suspect they will commute her death penalty in order to retain diplomatic relations, it has to be said that Lindsay Sandiford, regardless of her treatment, was guilty of smuggling a vast quantity of cocaine into the country and knew full well the penalties if caught.
Laws need to be respected and we need to learn to accept that different countries play by different rules. If you knowing commit a crime and you know what the punishment is for doing so then you must prepare yourself to pay the price.
While many will no doubt be throwing their arms in the air and admonish the Indonesian authorities for being barbaric I wonder how many of these people will consider the death and destruction to all the lives these narcotics would have affected if they had not been detected at the Indonesian Customs Desk.
The old saying applies aptly… If you cannot do the time, don’t do the crime.
Latest Update: Sunday 14th April 2013 - Lindsay Sandiford Facing Execution in Bali Says She is Ready to Die