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Briton on Indonesia death row fears execution soon

AFP  |  Jakarta 

A British grandmother on death row in Indonesia for smuggling drugs has condemned the "senseless, brutal" execution of two Australians, and reportedly fears she could be next in line for the firing squad.

Australian drug traffickers Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran were executed by firing squad yesterday, along with five other foreigners and one Indonesian, despite a storm of international criticism and pleas from relatives.

Briton Lindsay Sandiford, who was in the same jail as the Australians on the resort island of Bali after being sentenced to death in 2013, said the pair were "reformed men - good men who transformed the lives of people around them".

"Their senseless, brutal deaths leave the world a poorer place," she said in a statement given to AFP today via her lawyer Craig Tuck.

The BBC quoted the lawyer as saying that Sandiford fears she could be next in line to be executed, as Indonesian President Joko Widodo mounts a campaign against what he says is a national emergency caused by rising drugs use.

Sandiford - who was caught trying to smuggle a huge stash of cocaine into Bali - referred to Chan as "my dear friend".

"He counselled and helped me through exceptionally difficult times after I was sentenced to death in 2013."

She added the Australians, ringleaders of the so-called "Bali Nine" drug-smuggling gang, used their time in Bali's Kerobokan jail "to make life better for everyone around them".

"They introduced the concept of rehabilitation to a prison that never had it before. They organised painting classes, cookery classes and computer classes, and gave practical help to make sure the poorest prisoners had food, clothing and essentials."

The pair ensured that sick inmates had access to health care and hospital services which were not covered by the prison budget, she said.

Sandiford claims she was coerced into trafficking, and her family recently launched a fundraising drive to raise the money needed to lodge an appeal at the Indonesian Supreme Court, after the British government refused to fund her legal fight.

New Zealand lawyer Tuck, who is leading an international pro bono legal team representing Sandiford, says the money is needed to retain Indonesian lawyers who can fight her case.

If this challenge fails, Sandiford still has the opportunity to appeal for clemency from Widodo.

The convicts executed yesterday recently had their mercy pleas rejected by the president, and Jakarta has repeatedly insisted his decision is final.

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First Published: Thu, April 30 2015. 15:32 IST