The sister of Lindsay Sandiford, the British grandmother sentenced to death by firing squad in Bali last week, fears that she cannot be saved from execution because of her inability to fund a lawyer.
Hilary Parsons has spent the last pennies of her savings to try and find Sandiford a lawyer to challenge her death sentence for drug smuggling, but cannot afford even the expenses of an Indonesian lawyer who she says has agreed to act for free.
Parsons spoke of her "terror" at the realisation that she alone must try and navigate the Indonesian appeals process, with no funds to pay legal representatives. “I can’t imagine what we will do if we miss the opportunity to save Lindsay’s life," she said in an interview published by Reprieve, the legal rights charity supporting Sandiford.
Hilary Parsons with her sister Lindsay Sandiford
"Because Lindsay is unrepresented it is has fallen to me to try to work out what is going on and when documents need to be filed – this is a terrifying position to be in.
"I don’t speak Indonesian and have no way to find out how the Indonesian criminal justice system works.
“When I arrived in Bali in early October I managed to find an Indonesian Lawyer, Esra Karokaro who would represent Lindsay at trial for £5000. Other lawyers we approached had asked for upwards of $30,000.
"Although Esra appeared to be an honest lawyer who would do his best for Lindsay, he did not speak much English and had never handled a case carrying the death penalty.
"Esra has done his best throughout the case but it is clear that Lindsay desperately needs the help of an experienced capital defence lawyer. A lawyer has offered to act for free but I have spent all of my savings and do not have the money to pay his costs."
Sandiford, 56, from Teeside, was arrested on £1.7m drugs charges in Bali.Prosecution lawyers asked for her to serve a 15-year sentence, but a panel of judges, headed by Amser Simanjuntak, concluded that Sandiford had damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination and weakened the government's programme of drug annihilation.
Lindsay Sandiford arrives at a courthouse in Denpasar, Bali
Reprieve recently announced that it had filed an application for a judicial review through solicitors Leigh Day & Co, charging the UK Foreign Office overs its alleged failure to support Sandiford's appeal.
Sandiford has just two weeks to file the appeal. She has already filed an intention to appeal with the district court.
Parsons said: “A lawyer has offered to represent Lindsay pro bono if the British Government are able to cover his costs. He is our only choice.
"If we were properly funded we could hire the very best lawyer. I know nothing about this lawyer and can only hope and pray that he is the right person for the very difficult job.
“I am so scared that we will lose the chance to appeal. A lawyer should have started work on the case a week ago and every day that goes by is a day that Lindsay loses for preparing her appeal.
"We have nowhere else to turn. We desperately need the help of the British Foreign Office to ensure that Lindsay has a lawyer. “
Separately, the Jakarta Post, Indonesia's largest English-language newspaper, has published an editorial in the wake of the Sandiford case, calling for the abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia.
It said: "This new death sentence should serve as the impetus for the complete abolition of the death penalty in Indonesia.
"More than two-thirds of the countries in the world have abolished the death penalty. The year 2013 should be the time for Indonesia to follow suit.
One of the reasons given by the paper for abolition is the fact that the US still retains capital punishment. "We should also abolish the death penalty so that we are no longer compared to other death penalty retainers, like the US, whose criminal justice systems are notoriously problematic and rife with errors," the paper said.
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