Indonesian prosecutor seeks 15 year sentence for British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford

December 20, 2012

Image of barbed wire

Prosecutors in Bali announced today that they will seek a 15 year prison sentence for British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, who was arrested earlier this year on drugs charges. 

Ms Sandiford, 56, from Teeside, was coerced into carrying the drugs into the country earlier this year after threats were made against her children.  She was arrested in May this year, and has since become a grandmother. 

At the next hearing she will take the stand – however, she faces significant disadvantages as none of the defence witnesses who have provided statements to support her case can afford to travel to Indonesia to testify, and Indonesian law prohibits family members testifying in her defence.

Dr Jennifer Fleetwood, an expert in the drugs trade, recently submitted written testimony to the court that, in her professional opinion, “Lindsay Sandiford was subjected to coercion by one or more parties over a period of time,” and that Lindsay’s “vulnerability will have made her an ideal target for drugs traffickers.”

Harriet McCulloch, Investigator at Reprieve, said: “Lindsay has been through a terrible experience – she was exploited by drug traffickers, who targeted her because of her vulnerability and her fear for the safety of her children. She was interrogated by the Indonesian police without a translator, legal representation or the assistance of the British embassy for 10 days. It would have been unthinkable for the prosecution to demand her execution.  We hope that the judges take all of this into consideration when handing down their verdict.”


Notes to editors:

1. For further information, please contact Donald Campbell in Reprieve’s press office: +44 (0) 207 553 8166 / donald.campbell [AT] or see

2.  Further information on Dr Fleetwood’s testimony can be found here:

3. Lindsay Sandiford is a British national facing three charges for drugs offences in Indonesia, two of which carry the death penalty.  Her trial is ongoing and being conducted in weekly hearings.  A verdict is expected to be handed down in early January. Lindsay had never been in trouble with the police before, but in March 2012, convinced her son would be in danger from criminal gangs if she refused, she agreed to carry a suitcase from Bangkok to Bali, Indonesia.  She was stopped at the airport in Bali and taken for interrogation by customs officials. The Indonesian authorities failed to inform the British embassy that she had been arrested – in breach of their international obligations – and she was held for ten days before anyone knew what had happened.  Lindsay does not speak the local language and says that, during those ten days, she was not appointed either a lawyer or a translator, and was deprived of sleep and threatened by the authorities with a gun.

Since being transferred to police custody on May 28th 2012 Lindsay has had three different Indonesian lawyers, none of whom have provided her with effective legal assistance. The first lawyer appointed by the Indonesian police stole money from her and made no effort to investigate her case or represent her interests in police interrogations. She believes that he also bribed prison officials to get journalists into the prison and then tried to demand money from these journalists for access to Lindsay.

On October 4th Lindsay appeared in court without a lawyer. Her trial commenced and the indictment was read out. She faces three charges, two of which carry the death penalty. Lindsay was also unrepresented at the next hearing because she was unable to find a lawyer to assist her pro bono.

Lindsay is currently represented but her lawyer does not have the resources to properly investigate the case and to uncover the evidence that could save Lindsay’s life.