A legal challenge will be heard in the British courts in the case of a woman on death row in the Far East.
Lindsay Sandiford was sentenced to death by firing squad by a court in the Indonesian province of Bali. The 56 year old, who's originally from Redcar, was convicted of smuggling more than a million and a half pounds worth of cocaine.
She has the opportunity to appeal against her death sentence but the legal campaigning charity Reprieve says her family has run out of money and cannot afford the cost of lawyer.
The charity is challenging the British Government's policy of not paying for, or providing legal representation for Britons facing the death penalty abroad.
That case is due to be heard at the High Court on Thursday 31st January.
A lawyer is prepared to work on Lindsay Sandiford's case voluntarily though he requires the cost of travel to be met, which amounts to around £2,500. Reprieve says the Foreign Office should step in.
– Harriet McCulloch, Reprieve
The issue is that if the Foreign Office don't do it, no one will so Lindsay will be without a lawyer. She won't file an appeal against her death sentence and she will be more likely to be executed than if they had assisted ...
The issue here is that the Indonesians haven't appointed an effective lawyer for Lindsay so it's essential that the Foreign Office step in and make sure that her basic rights are honoured.
A spokesman for the Foreign Office gave this response:
– Foreign and Commonwealth Office
We can confirm that Lindsay Sandiford, with the assistance of the NGO Reprieve, is challenging the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's policy of not paying for, or providing legal representation for British nationals potentially facing the death penalty oversees. The FCO will be robustly contesting the case.
Our policy is that her Majesty's Government does not pay for legal representation for British nationals oversees. However, we assist British nationals in identifying potential legal representation, including by working closely with NGOs (for example Reprieve). It was through Consular staff's efforts in Indonesia that we were able to identify a lawyer who is prepared to assist Lindsay Sandiford with her appeal ...
The Foreign Office added that it is disappointing it is having to divert resources to contesting the legal challenge when it should be focusing on assisting Lindsay Sandiford.