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Indonesia (Death Penalty)

Volume 561: debated on Tuesday 23 April 2013

The British Government strongly oppose the death penalty, as a matter of principle. We continue to make formal representations to the Indonesian authorities and to speak out publicly on this issue, and they are in no doubt as to the seriousness with which we take this issue. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary raised our objections to the use of the death penalty with the Indonesian Foreign Minister in November 2012.

I thank the Minister for the efforts that the Foreign Office is taking on behalf of Lindsay Sandiford. Does he agree that the Indonesian Government should be left in no doubt that the failure to commute the threat of a death sentence would have serious implications for our relationship with Indonesia, and their standing in the world?

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed the death penalty with the Indonesian Foreign Minister during the November state visit of the Indonesian President. I issued a statement on 15 March, firmly expressing UK concern following the recent execution carried out by Indonesia. We continue to be deeply concerned for both Lindsay Sandiford and Gareth Cashmore, who have been sentenced to death for drug-trafficking offences. We are seeking reassurances that Indonesia will not seek to carry out the death penalty in both cases.

May I also thank the Foreign Office for the support that it has given to my former constituent, Lindsay Sandiford? However, given the concerns about the adequacy of translation in the initial trial and the adequacy of legal representation going forward to the Supreme Court stage, will the Foreign Office reconsider its position and follow Indonesia’s own example, which provides support for translation costs and legal costs for its nationals facing the death penalty abroad, and support Lindsay Sandiford through that process, even though it is not legally obliged to do so?

My hon. Friend is right to voice that concern, but it is true that the Government do not pay for legal representation for British nationals overseas. We have been working extremely closely with Lindsay Sandiford’s lawyers and Reprieve in identifying a lawyer for her, and we are prepared to assist her with anything beyond actually having to meet some of these bills, which we just simply do not do.