Two Britons to face death sentence in drug case
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Two British citizens, Lindsay June Sandiford, 56, and Julian Anthony Ponder, 43, may face the death sentence for smuggling and receiving 4.7 kilograms of cocaine in Bali.
In a high-profile drug trial at Denpasar District Court on Thursday morning, Prosecutor Lie Putra Setiawan charged the British woman with violating Law No 35/2009, Article 113, sub-Article 2, on Narcotics.
“The defendant was producing, importing, exporting or distributing category 1 narcotics weighing more than five grams,” prosecutor Setiawan told the court, presided over by judge Amser Simanjuntak.
The prosecutor also charged Sandiford with violating articles 114 and 132 of the same law related to trafficking and selling narcotics, as well as Article 112 on possession and provision of narcotics.
Customs and excise officers at Ngurah Rai International Airport arrested the middle-aged British housewife after she arrived from Bangkok on May 16 this year for smuggling 4.79 grams of cocaine in her suitcase.
The illegal drug was hidden inside her suitcase. After the arrest, she informed the police that the drugs were to be handed over to another British woman, Rachel Lisa Dougall.
“The defendant admitted that the drugs belonged to Ponder. She was assigned to transport the drugs under the instruction of Dougall,” the prosecutor told the court.
Dougall was later arrested with three other suspects — Julian Anthony Ponder, Paul Beales and Indian national Nanda Gopal.
Dougall and Gopal were arrested separately in villas in Tabanan and Badung regencies, while Ponder and Beales were seized in front of a welding workshop in Candidasa, Karangasem in east Bali.
Ponder was arrested on May 25 by the police based on information received from Sandiford, who had agreed to assist the police in carrying out the controlled delivery.
Regarding the prosecutor’s charge, Sandiford said she would file an appeal. But judge Simanjuntak insisted that she hire a defense lawyer.
Sandiford “fired” her local lawyer, Nengah Sudiartha, last week.
Sandiford previously requested legal protection from various institutions, including the Attorney General’s Office, the National Police, the Law and Human Rights Ministry, the Witness and Victim Protection Agency, House of Representative Commission III on legal affairs and the British Embassy in Jakarta.
According to her former lawyer, Sandiford and her family had been threatened by an unknown person and by other suspects in a similar case. “They [the other suspects] did not want Sandiford to talk to the police and give information on their drug syndicate,” the former lawyer said in a letter sent to the above institutions on July 30.
Separately, prosecutor I Ketut Sujaya also charged Julian Anthony Ponder with violating the Law on Narcotics in a separate trial presided over by Judge Gunawan Tri Budiono.
Ponder’s lawyer, Ary Soenardi, said that his client accepted the prosecutor’s charge.