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Indonesia: Intense concern for British woman 'one step closer to firing squad'

·         Execution of drug trafficker last month ended four and a half year death penalty hiatus

·         Attorney General vows spate of executions this year

Responding to news that 56-year-old British woman Lindsay Sandiford has lost her appeal against her death sentence in Bali for drug trafficking, Amnesty International said it was intensely concerned as this brings her another step closer to the firing squad.

Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May 2012 following a routine customs check by Bali police who found 4.8kg (10.6lb) of cocaine in the lining of her suitcase, she was sentenced to death by firing squad in January. Last month Indonesia ended a four and a half year hiatus on the use of the death penalty when they executed a Malawian national for drug trafficking.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director Tim Hancock said:

“We are intensely concerned for Lindsay Sandiford who is now one step closer to a brutal death by firing squad.

“The mental anguish and distress she is being subjected to is hard to imagine. Having your life hanging in the balance time and time again like this is an absolutely terrifying position to be in.

“Last month’s execution in Indonesia was the first in almost five years – worryingly combined with a threat to execute another nine people this year. It’s very depressing to see the authorities in Indonesia slip backwards against the general trend in the world for abolition of the death penalty.

 “We are urging the UK government to make the strongest possible representations on her behalf, amplifying the pressure they have already established in her case.”

The first execution in Indonesia in four and a half years took place last month. On 14 March Adami Wilson, a 48-year old Malawian national convicted for drug trafficking in 2004, was executed by firing squad in Jakarta. It was the first execution in Indonesia since November 2008, when three of the men involved in the 2002 Bali bombings were put to death.

At the time of the execution last month, Indonesian Attorney General Basrief Arief said that the authorities planned to execute at least a further nine death row inmates in 2013.

Around 130 people are believed to be on death row in Indonesia – more than half of them have been convicted of drug trafficking.

The use of the death penalty for drug-related offences does not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” as prescribed under international law.

More people are sentenced to death for drug offences than for any other crime in Asia-Pacific countries, with 16 countries in total sentencing people to death for drug trafficking and possession.

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