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Jakarta Post

The need for action on the death penalty

  • Federico Mayor

Geneva, Switzerland   /   Fri, February 8 2013   /  10:40 am

Just a few short weeks into a new year — a year that will mark the 65th anniversary of the United Nations (UN) Universal Declaration of Human Rights — and regrettably a court in Indonesia has sentenced a British grandmother to death.

People across the world have been shocked by the sentencing of 56-year-old Lindsay Sandiford to death for drugs trafficking. The prosecution had recommended a 15-year sentence, with Sandiford’s age and lack of prior convictions being taken into account. Instead, the judges handed down a death sentence. Reports say there was an audible gasp of surprise in the courtroom.

Sandiford’s lawyers have said they will appeal — and as executions rarely now take place in Indonesia, the hope has to be that she will escape the firing squad. The last execution in the country was carried out in 2008.

Her sentence makes particularly uncomfortab...