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January 22, 2013

British Woman Faces Death In Bali Drug Case

by VOA News

A British woman has been sentenced to death for attempting to smuggle drugs into the resort island of Bali.

Lindsay Sandiford, 56, cried when the sentence was announced, but made no comment as she was escorted back to jail.

Indonesia has notoriously strict drug laws but the sentence was harsher than expected because prosecutors had recommended a 15-year sentence.

A panel of judges at the Denpasar District Court said there was no reason to lighten Sandiford's sentence, saying she had damaged the image of Bali as a tourist destination.

In May, Sandiford was arrested at Bali's international airport with 4.8 kilograms of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase. She says a criminal gang threatened to hurt her children if she did not transport the drugs, which had a street value of $2.5 million.

Her lawyer says she will appeal the verdict.

Two other British citizens have received lighter sentences for their role in the case. A fourth is expected to be sentenced at the end of the month.

Indonesia has 114 prisoners on death row, although no executions have taken place since 2008, according to Australia's Lowy Institute for International Policy.

Condemned criminals there face death by firing squad but death sentences are sometimes commuted to lengthy prison sentences.