British woman Lindsay Sandiford can now look forward to sleeping for a very long time on a mat on the floor, dormitory-style, in a hot, smelly and dank Bali prison cell.
There will no beds and nice bedding, no western toilets and no creature comforts. Her sleeping partners and cell mates, who she will sleep cheek by jowl with, will not be her friends, she will never know who to trust and nothing will be sacred.
Sentenced yesterday to death for her role in trafficking 4.8kg of cocaine into the holiday island, the British grandmother now faces years of appeals and pleas for clemency before her eventual fate will be known.
The only constant will be that her home will be Bali's Kerobokan Prison, in the midst of the ever trendy suburb of Kerobokan.
She is in Block W, the women' block - the same place where Australians Schapelle Corby and Renae Lawrence are held and where Lawrence is one of the chief prisoners, in charge of the others.
The numbers in her cell will differ from less than 10 to 13 or 14, depending on the prison population. Most of the women she shares with will be there on drug charges, prostitution and theft. Kerobokan jail is dreadfully overcrowded.
Life there is no picnic. As well as the awful sanitary and health problems and the filth, there is the personality clashes and in-fighting amongst the prisoners themselves.
Her co-accused, fellow Briton Rachel Dougall, who has accused Sandiford of setting her up, is there too. There is no love lost between them. The male co-accused are also there.
Personal effects are regularly stolen from the prisoners by their cell mates.
|Kerobokan Prison Cell|
There are no beds. The prisoners sleep on mats or mattresses on the floor, lined up like a camping excursion. The toilets are squat toilets and there is no shower, just an Indonesian-style mandi -- a tub of water and a small bucket to pour it over yourself.
Prison food is rudimentary to say the least and most foreigners in Kerobokan Jail rely on friends or relatives outside to bring them food daily.
Health facilities too are poor and things like a toothache can go untreated for long enough for the tooth to rot and fall out.
Boredom is a constant. There is little to do in jail in Bali, especially if you are in the women's block. While the men are allowed to run courses, learning computers and English and art, there is very little for the women. There are no libraries and very little to make the days interesting aside from visits. Visitors are allowed each day except Mondays and they are full contact visits, on the bright side. This too means they get to mingle with the male prisoners.
It's a harsh world and drugs are a big problem inside the jail. Sandiford will need to be made of tough stuff and be able to defend herself. Being a foreigner is no picnic - it means more hands out for bribe money to get even basic goods and services.
Sandiford, 56, was arrested in May last year and after her arrest was kept at the cells at Denpasar police station before being transferred to Kerobokan jail.
The death sentence handed down to her yesterday came as shock to many in Bali. Her co-accused had got much lighter sentences.
Sandiford is now 1 of 4 foreigners on death row in Kerobokan Jail.
Australians Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, from the Bali Nine drug smuggling ring, are on death row, having lost all their legal appeals against the penalty. They have lodged clemency pleas with Indonesia's President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, but have no answer yet. And a Nigerian drug trafficker is also on death row and in a similar situation.
Sandiford will now face years of appeals and waiting before she knows her eventual fate. Schapelle Corby's clemency, cutting her sentence from 20 to 15 years, was granted 7 years after her conviction.
The death penalty is carried out in Indonesia by firing squad, normally in the middle of the night in a remote place, illuminated by flood lights. The public are not allowed to witness executions.
Members of the police force's elite Brimob paramilitary brigade make up firing squads. They consist of 12 armed soldiers however only 3 of them actually have live rounds in their weapons - the rest have blanks. Nobody knows who has the live rounds and who has the blanks. This is to ease the conscience of the firing squad and so that no-one knows who fired the killer shot.
The condemned person is tied to a wooden cross or post and the spot of their heart is illuminated on a vest they wear to guide the firing squad.
The prisoner can elect to wear a hood or not and can have a religious person present until the last moments.
It is a terrifying and lonely way to go but one which Indonesia still chooses.
The last executions in Indonesia were in November 2008 when the 3 Bali bombers, Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra were executed together.
Since then the country has had an unofficial moratorium on carrying out the ultimate sanction and many analysts had hoped this meant the republic was moving away from the death penalty, in line with other countries in the world.
It had been interpreted for good news for Chan and Sukumaran and the more than 100 others on death row.
However, at Christmas time the Attorney General's office announced that it plans to execute 10 people in 2013. The doomed have yet to be publicly identified but it does not include the Australians, whose clemency pleas are yet to be considered by the President.
The announcement comes as authorities said that 113 people were sentenced to death in 2012 alone. Now Sandiford's name has been added to that list.
Whether the President will be prepared to grant clemency to the Australians or Sandiford remains to be seen. Last year SBY granted a reprieve to an Indonesian prisoner, reducing her death penalty to life behind bars.
But it was subsequently found she was running a drug ring behind bars and the President came in for heavy criticism from the parliament and his party in what was seen as a setback for moves to abolish the death penalty, or at least unofficially stop using it.
Source: The News, January 24, 2013
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