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As Lindsay Sandiford awaits execution we ask: Should the death sentence still exist?

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 05, 2013

  • Lindsay June Sandiford at court in Bali with her interpreter

  • MP Martin Horwood

  • Richard Moger

Comments (32)

CHELTENHAM grandmother Lindsay Sandiford was handed the death sentence last month for drug smuggling in Bali. The 56-year-old, who once lived in Hester's Way and Warden Hill, was told she would face a firing squad after police arrested her in May last year with nearly five kilos of cocaine. In this week's Great Debate, we ask – should capital punishment still exist? And should it apply in the case of Lindsay Sandiford?

Cheltenham MP Martin Horwood tells why he is against the death penalty, one of the reasons he is intervening in the case of Lindsay Sandiford so strongly.

I simply don't think it can be justified for a state to rule that a person should die.

It's morally wrong – whatever crime they have committed.

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Sometimes killing other people can happen in warfare and, while that is regrettable, it sometimes cannot be avoided.

But to have a state condemn someone to death in cold blood is a step too far – whatever part of the world you're in.

Now that an appeal has been lodged in the case of Lindsay Sandiford that gives her more time. The first recourse is to appeal to the High Court and then to the Supreme Court. Then, there is still a chance to appeal to the president of Indonesia for clemency. He is said to be against the death penalty.

Although the death penalty remains part of Indonesian law, no one has been executed there since 2009. The fact the statute remains part of their law is a leftover from the dictatorship regime and out of tune with a democracy.

I have made this point very clearly face to face with the ambassador of Indonesia when discussing the case of Lindsay Sandiford. How do you think tourists will feel going on holiday there knowing that if they were coerced into carrying drugs they could be executed?

If it wants to be seen as a progressive, modern country then this statute needs to be wiped from the books.

Richard Moger, 33, from Whaddon disagrees.

I think when you read about what she has done, no one seems to be in too much doubt that this woman was guilty of smuggling large amounts of drugs into Bali.

She would have known when she decided to do that what the punishment was, so I don't think she can have much cause for complaint when she is caught and punished according to the law of the land.

When you are abroad, it's important to respect the laws of the country you're in.

Whether you agree with them or not is beside the point.

This woman was arrested bringing a large amount of cocaine into Bali and she was bang to rights.

Those drugs would have been used by people on the island – potentially causing harm to people who bought them.

Although she was almost certainly part of a demand and supply scenario, and if she didn't bring the drugs in someone else would have, it's still hard to find much sympathy for someone who was prepared to put other lives at risk in order to line her own pockets.

I don't see why, because she is a British citizen, she should get off any lighter than others who have been executed for similar crimes in that part of the world before.

It seems to me to be double standards.

People will question whether the death penalty is right in the first place. But should we be telling countries like Indonesia how to make their own laws just because one of our citizens has fallen foul of them?

If you do the crime, you should be prepared to do the time. And in this case that means the death penalty.

It's not a very palatable. We might not like it. But at least it sends out a strong message to drug traffickers who are preying on people on the island.

What kind of message does it send them if she gets a light sentence?

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32 comments

  • ShireMe  |  February 06 2013, 10:57PM

    Why are we asking the Indonesians nicely to respect our values on this matter? Why don't we invade them, drone strafe their citizens to non-existence and install a puppet government? That would teach them to disrespect the sanctity of life! Heh.

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  • Judas  |  February 06 2013, 9:36PM

    If anyone has been to Indonesia, China, Singapore and some others which I cant think of, warnings and penalties for drug trafficking cannot, no matter how unobservant you are, be missed. She clearly felt this was a risk worth taking which most people will logically shy away from. Perhaps this is modern day version of Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection?

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  • joey102030  |  February 06 2013, 9:24AM

    If the Indonesian justice system is so great, they may want to tell Australia, Canada, France, Greece, Iran, Israel, Japan, Norway, Spain, Taiwan, USA how to do it. All these countries have well publicised cases of wrongful conviction. Even if their conviction rate was 99.9% accurate (unlikely), they will STILL be killing innocent people in the name of justice. There's no debate here.

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  • Aletheia  |  February 06 2013, 1:01AM

    Of course Martin Horwood being an M.P. is one of the group of people that make our laws and criminal justice systemand what a mess that is with serious offenders routinely given derisory sentences and early releases invented to save money on building new prisons. Being one of the authors of our immoral, crime ridden society his opinion has little value. To try and tell another country that they are getting it wrong and that their system is not part of a modern democracy is arrogant in the extreme. It is typical of liberals who think that their position is middle ground and therefore reasonable, balanced and that everyone else's opinion is therefore wrong. That view, in itself, is a contradiction.

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  • uselesswonder  |  February 05 2013, 9:27PM

    It's simple really - If you commit a crime in another country then you have to pay the price that country insists upon no matter what that is. If you do the crime here in the UK you get off scott free hence the country going to the dogs. So all you do gooders who think this is a terribly severe crime just think on this - if our justice system was a little harsher and the threat of the sentence deterred some criminals then the crime rate wouldn't be any where near as high as it is and then maybe you'd think twice about stepping in where you're not wanted and interfering. ....and don't get me started about the lack of authority schools and police have over our little cherubs......

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  • Samuelari  |  February 05 2013, 8:41PM

    "Drug" consumption needs to be looked at in a context of food crises and positive as well as negative or precarious effects. Health questions must be answered in reference to societal support (or in Indonesia's case lack of)

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  • Spud0  |  February 05 2013, 7:39PM

    I searched The Conservative Party website to find they have no policy to bring back capital punishment - so Lib Dem MP, Martin Horwood is not alone in opposing the death sentence these days.

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  • Hehe13  |  February 05 2013, 7:39PM

    If you do this type of crime in places in south east asia, what do you expect. I have no sympathy for this women what so ever. I hope she enjoys her stay in the famous hotel k before her impending execution.

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  • rayw1604  |  February 05 2013, 7:39PM

    There are some very sick specimens in these comments.

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  • CBCschmucks  |  February 05 2013, 7:03PM

    Good. One less drug dealing sc*mbag! Hope her neck gets nice and long.

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