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  1. ITV Report

Redcar woman's 'threats' in Bali jail

Lawyers for Lindsay Sandiford, the woman from Redcar accused of smuggling £1.6 million of cocaine into Bali, have written to the British Embassy and Indonesian officials claiming she's being threatened in prison.

Lindsay Sandiford was arrested in May with an alleged 5kg of cocaine. Credit: AP/Reuters
The weight of drugs allegedly seized could lead to Mrs Sandiford receiving the death penalty if convicted. Credit: AP/Reuters

She could face the death penalty if convicted, after being arrested with an alleged 5kg of drugs at the city's airport in May.

In the letter, seen exclusively by ITV News, her legal team appeal for "special protection" for Mrs Sandiford. They ask she "be kept away from all threats and pressure", and ask for improvements to the conditions she's being held in.

Lindsay Sandiford's lawyers have appealed for 'special protection' for her. Credit: ITV

Mrs Sandiford has been reported as saying she agreed to carry a package into Bali on behalf of a drugs gang, after they threatened to kill her son. The letter describes her as a "whistleblower", after she worked with police following her arrest. Her involvement in a sting operation led to the arrest of four suspected gang members, including three Brits.

"Our client has already cooperated in uncovering and dismantling a network of drug syndicates, dealers and suppliers in Bali, resulting in the Bali Police arresting four members of the syndicate. Our client is not just a suspect but also a very important key witness.

"She and her families often get threats from unknown people who have been arrested as alleged members of the syndicate.

"So far, our client is not being treated well, with a lack of adequate facilities for prisoners. Our client is vegetarian who cannot eat meat or fish.

"Our client is a Whistle Blower so should get special protection.

"We ask that our client is kept away from all forms of threats and pressure from those who are responsible."

– Letter from Lindsay Sandiford's lawyers

A London-based pressure group that's working on her case is concerned for her safety.

"It portrays Lindsay as someone who is very much the victim here and that's an all-too-common situation with people who are accused and arrested on charges of smuggling drugs. It's very rarely the people making the money that are arrested. It's always people who are particularly vulnerable."

– Marc Callcutt, Reprieve

Mrs Sandiford, a former legal secretary who lived in Redcar, as well as Cheltenham and India, is already being held in isolation at a police station in Bali after receiving threats. Her lawyers have also criticised conditions at the jail. Mrs Sandiford is a vegetarian, but her legal team says she's being denied a vegetarian diet.

Lawyers have also criticised cramped and hot conditions in the police station where she's being held.

But she could be moved to the city's notorious Kerobokan prison as her case progresses, and could be held for years while it's heard.

Her co-operation with police should count in her favour, but she could still face death by firing squad if convicted.

A Foreign Office spokesman said it took any reports of a British national being mistreated in a foreign prison very seriously, and raises such reports with local authorities.