Drug Policy

Indonesian Court Sentences British Grandmother to Death For Drug Smuggling

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An Indonesian court has sentenced a British grandmother to death after she was found guilty of smuggling 11lbs of cocaine into the island of Bali.

Prosecutors had been pushing for a 15-year prison term, but judges handed down the death penalty, saying that Lindsay Sandiford expressed little concern over the consequences of her actions. Sandiford's lawyer has said that the court did not consider the fact that she was forced into smuggling the cocaine under threat of violence to her family.

According to British Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire, Sandiford still has a few appeal options left within the Indonesian judicial system. After the appeals are exhausted there is the possibility that Sandiford could be pardoned by Indonesia's president, who has pardoned four drug dealers on death row since 2004.

Indonesia has some of the strictest drug laws in the world, and Sandiford is only the latest foreign national to have received the death penalty or a long prison sentence for drug offenses. No doubt the strict sentences are in place to reduce the number of people using and selling drugs. However, even with these draconian sentences there has not been a significant reduction of drug use in Indonesia, as I noted back in March. An official from Bali's Customs and Excise Agency justified the harsh sentence saying:

The main reason is because narcotics can massively endanger the young and, thus, whoever is caught with drugs should be severely punished. If three people can consume one gram of cocaine, then this operation has potentially saved up to 14,000 lives, 

What is stunning is that there is an example of legislation that does reduce the use of "hard drugs" without requiring that the state kill people. The Portuguese have decriminalized all drugs, and the results have been encouraging. It is a shame it is taking so long for Indonesian authorities to realize that executing grandmothers might not be the best way to reduce drug consumption. 

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  1. She has to be put to death, otherwise people will loses respect for THE LAW and we can’t have that.

    1. The main reason is because narcotics can massively endanger the young and, thus, whoever is caught with drugs should be severely punished. If three people can consume one gram of cocaine, then this operation has potentially saved up to 14,000 lives,

      The law of sophistry, if nothing else.

      1. I get closer to 15,000. That is, assuming that three people will most likely die after sharing a gram of coke. Which isn’t even remotely likely.

        1. So they aren’t just stupid assholes, they are lying stupid assholes.

        2. Yeah. Sounds to me like you’re just making one night a little crappier for 15k people.

    2. How most people have any respect for the law anymore is beyond me. I still do, mainly because of upbringing (indoctrination), but logically there are so many unjust and ineffective laws backed up by ridiculously outsized penalties, how does anyone have “respect” vs. “fear” of the law in this world?

      1. Look for the LAOL label.

        1. I still haven’t decoded that one.

          1. “Law and Order Libertarian”

            Which is an oxymoron thought up by an actual moron.

            Immoral laws are the problem, not my disregard for them.

            1. Oh, thanks. Yeah, that does seem to be internally inconsistent–especially given libertarianism’s inherent rejection of force and embrace of logic. “Because it’s the law” and “because I will hurt you otherwise” are bad arguments for a libertarian to accept.

              1. One doesn’t necessarily have to be logical in order to be a libertarian. The arms of Ganesha are many.

              2. Because it’s the law

                Appeal to authority.

                because I will hurt you otherwise

                Appeal to force, often runs parallel to the appeal to authority.

      2. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.
        -Bastiat

        Other than self preservation (don’t want to get caught) I have zero respect for the law. Haven’t had any for a long time.

        But that’s the point. Statists want people to jettison their own understanding of right and wrong, and replace it with what the legislators write. To do otherwise is thoughtcrime, and as is shown in this case thoughtcrime is death.

  2. Singapore has the same death penalty for smuggling. Remember that before proclaiming it a bastion of freedom.

    1. Singapore is a bastion of economic freedom. Economic freedom is not the only measure of liberty.

      1. Smuggling is a economic crime; the bastion of economic freedom thing is a little shaky.

        1. Relatively speaking of course. There are fewer government barriers to starting and running a business in Singapore compared to here or most of the world.

          1. I’m leery of any place I can get caned for chewing bubblegum.

            1. I had a history teacher in HS who got in trouble for chewing gum in Singapore, though nothing actually happened–don’t know if he got a ticket or yelled at or what. But he was perfectly willing to defend its illegality. “Well, you just have to understand the reasons, and it all makes sense…”

              1. Boo. Some people feel the need to proclaim how comfortable the shackles are if you’d just give them a chance.

                1. It is about multi cultural sensitivity Sugar Free. See those were groovy brown people taking away his freedom and that is totally okay and something you need to try and understand. Now evil white men doing that is a totally different story.

                  1. John, please shut up about the scary evil furriners.

              2. I chewed gum all the time there. We smuggled that shit in from Malaysia. It really was more about the sale of gum and the public disposal of it in practice.

              3. But he was perfectly willing to defend its illegality. “Well, you just have to understand the reasons, and it all makes sense…”

                When I lived there growing up we always said the reason was because some fat ass minister sat on a piece of gum and got pissed off. Whether it’s an urban legend or not I refuse to believe otherwise.

      2. Economic freedom like freedom of trade?

      3. I don’t know, I would think “smuggling” falls under “economic freedom,” or the lack thereof.

      4. Singapore is a bastion of economic freedom.

        Uh….no, it isn’t. Pretty much everything in Singapore is owned by Temasek, which is a state-owned and operated business.

        1. Yeah Singapore is far from a free market and of course far from a free society. It’s a beautiful place and nice to live in (was there for 7 years) but people around here seem to a slanted view of the place.

          1. a slanted view of the place

            RAC…

            Eh, forget it. Too easy.

          2. Singapore does, at least, have a cool monument to free trade.

            If I remember correctly, it’s near the Cricket Club.

            1. Yep, beautiful building that is. Played soccer out on the Padang several times. In fairness it would be accurate that to Singapore is good on free trade (as in foreign trade).

  3. “expressed little concern over the consequences of her actions”

    She looks pretty concerned in the picture.

    Or do they mean consequences to other people. Let’s see, what would that be. Some drug dealers will make some money and some Australian tourists will do some blow on vacation. The horror.

    1. Not to defend this medieval punishment, but the Indo government is not trying to keep drugs out of the country to protect Aussie tourists from “doing blow”.

      The same can be said of why does American justice prosecute gambling? What are the consequences? Some bookies make some money and some people play some games?

      The stoopid is worldwide, only the punishment is the variable.

  4. Zero tolerance, drug crusaders, a sacrifice to the needs of society… this one has it all.

    1. I doubt she’ll get put to death, although 5 kilos is a lot, so I guess it’s possible.

      I travel to Indonesia often. I’ve managed to avoid the death penalty by not smuggling narcotics.

      Although this is a very harsh sentence, I’d bet the “State” (courts and police) kill far fewer people in Indo than they do in ‘Merica.

      Why does the headline announce she is a grandmother?

      1. Also, I just did some internetting and noticed even Taiwan has the death penalty for drug crimes.

        It would have been nice if the reporter of this story had investigated the “story” of family blackmail which allegedly compelled this woman to smuggle. Even if true, kind of implies the family was dabbling in Organized crime back home and pissed off the wrong people?

  5. Sandiford’s lawyer has said that the court did not consider the fact that she was forced into smuggling the cocaine under threat of violence to her family.

    What’s her family compared to the fourteen thousand lives she put in danger?

    1. Don’t forget that that cocaine would have been added surreptitiously to babies’ milk bottles and formed into irresistible candy for consumption by children. They wouldn’t have a chance to choose to say “No,” and they certainly couldn’t understand the potential effects of drug use.

    2. How exactly did she get into the situation of being forced to smuggle cocaine? I find that excuse to be a bit baffling.

  6. she was forced into smuggling the cocaine under threat of violence to her family.

    “Oh, that’s what they *all* say.”

    /Indonesian court

    1. Details or it’s just bullshit.

      1. Ask the court. It’s *their* snark.

  7. It’s not that I don’t feel bad for the woman, but why the fuck do people go to shit holes like this? I understand that nobody expects to be jumped and forced to become and illegal drug smuggler, but why even take that chance?

    1. That is what I was wondering. I don’t care if you put a gun to my head, I would rather be shot than face death or years of imprisonment in one of these hell holes. You really have to be some kind of a nut to try it.

      When I was in Kuwait a while back, they had about a dozen Americans doing the long tour in Kuwaiti prisons for smuggling drugs using the American military postal system. These guys were contractors making six figures tax free and they still tried selling drugs in Kuwait, a country with no civil rights or privacy rights to speak of, a vicious secret police, and draconian drug laws.

      1. She claims the metaphorical gun was helf to her family’s head, not hers. As to how she got in the situation, it’s immaterial. She wasn’t asking for it, I’m relatively sure.

        1. I think all drug laws are absurd and immoral. So, I do not think this woman deserves to go to jail much less be put to death. But that said, I find her excuse very unlikely. More likely is that she was stupid and trying to make a quick buck.

  8. Sandiford’s lawyer has said that the court did not consider the fact that she was forced into smuggling the cocaine under threat of violence to her family.

    So uhh, what’s the backstory here?

    1. The money associated with drug dealing is so large, drug smugglers never have a shortage of mules. There is always someone desperate enough for cash to try it. I don’t believe her story.

  9. What is stunning is that there is an example of legislation that does reduce the use of “hard drugs” without requiring that the state kill people.

    Harsh sentences imposed under foreign governments aren’t all bad. For instance, in China, if you’re a middling public official caught embezzling money, you can be executed. Tell me that’s not something we should at least entertain here.

    1. I’ve been saying for a while that the death penalty should be reserved exclusively for government agents who abuse their power or position.

      1. As have I. How about the same for officer Robert Price who deliberately, with malice aforethought and without justification, killed a dog?

        1. Killing a human for killing a dog? No thanks.

          1. Depends on the human in question. Being a cop is definitely a strike against.

      2. Agreed. If we are to tolerate the death penalty, I believe it should only be reserved for public officials who break the law. They have the power to make the law; why shouldn’t they be held infinitely more accountable?

  10. I sure wouldn’t be sharing my gram with two other people, maybe I might share a ball, maybe…

  11. This sentence has more to do with sticking it to the gringo than any actual Indonesian belief in the Drug War. In that part of the world, the post-colonial chip on Indonesia’s shoulder is rivaled only by Malaysia’s.

    1. Obama has one humongous post-colonial chip on his narrow shoulders.

      1. Indeed.

    2. When your a greedy bastard who breaks the law, your really being persecuted because of your color. Cry me a river.

      1. Are you saying she should be put to death for smuggling cocaine? If so, you’re as barbaric as the Indonesian court.

      2. Tulpa, I think we may have just found the next member of your LAOL cult

    3. “This sentence has more to do with sticking it to the gringo”

      1. Lots of native Indos receive harsh drug sentences including death. However, they don’t make the HandR headlines.

      2. Indonesia and Bali make huge bucks from tourism. Indonesia makes huge bucks from foreign investment. All government Officials (including judges) are feeding from the foreign money trough. There is no incentive for them to execute foreigners or scare way foreigners or upset the State Departments of foreigners, yet they do. That is how strong the anti-drug religion is in Indonesia.

      3. The most common (and largest) public service billboards I see throughout Indonesia are anti-narcotics adverts. These are aimed at the locals and written in bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language).

  12. “If three people can consume one gram of cocaine, then this operation has potentially saved up to 14,000 lives, […]”

    Is he perhaps unaware that cocaine use is not invariably fatal with a single instance?

    That, indeed, it’s not typically fatal at all?

  13. If you’re sharing with three people a gram is good for about one night, so yea that guy is full of shit

  14. Fucking barbaric neanderthals. It is a perfect illustration of what government ultimately IS.

  15. This article didn’t say she was payed 2.5 million dollars, might that be important? And why does it matter that she’s a grandmother? Fuck grandmother criminals. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Why is the British government advocating for this woman? They should mind their own goddamn business. I don’t support the drug war but I don’t have much sympathy.

    1. So, if she was paid $2.5 million, that makes the death penalty OK? ‘Cause that’s what you’re implying.

      I agree that it’s strange someone would deliberately go to Indonesia and get involved in an illegal activity, but it’s perfectly valid for me to judge such a harsh sentence. You don’t seem to hate the drug war as much as you hate people who break the law, no matter how immoral the law is.

    2. If you don’t sympathize with the victims why do you oppose the drug war?

      The British government is advocating for her because she is British, dumbo

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