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Indonesia sentences UK woman to death over drugs
By FIRDIA LISNAWATI | Associated Press – 15 hrs ago..

Associated Press/Firdia Lisnawati – Lindsay June Sandiford of Britain, right, listens to her interpreter during her sentencing at a courthouse, in Denpasar, Bali island, Indonesia, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2013.

Lindsay June Sandiford of Britain, …

BALI, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian court sentenced a British grandmother to death on Tuesday for smuggling cocaine worth $2.5 million in her suitcase onto the resort island of Bali — even though prosecutors had sought only a 15-year sentence.

Lindsay June Sandiford, 56, wept when judges handed down the sentence and declined to speak to reporters on her way back to prison, covering her face with a floral scarf. She had claimed in court that she was forced to take the drugs into the country by a gang that was threatening to hurt her children.

Indonesia, like many Asian countries, is very strict on drug crimes, and most of the more than 40 foreigners on its death row were convicted of drug charges.

Sandiford’s lawyer said she would appeal, a process that can take several years. Condemned criminals face a firing squad in Indonesia, which has not carried out an execution since 2008, when 10 people were put to death.

A verdict is expected in the trial of Sandiford’s alleged accomplice, Briton Julian Anthony Pounder, next Tuesday. He is accused of receiving the drugs in Bali, which has a busy bar and nightclub scene where party drugs such as cocaine and Ecstasy are bought and sold between foreigners. Two other British citizens and an Indian have already been convicted and sentenced to prison in connection with the bust.

In London, British Foreign Office Minister Hugo Swire told lawmakers Wednesday that the government strongly opposes Sandiford’s sentence.

“We strongly object to the death penalty and continue to provide consular assistance to Lindsay and her family during this difficult time,” he said.

Martin Horwood, a member of Parliament representing Sandiford’s Cheltenham constituency in western England, called the sentence a shock and said he would raise the case with Foreign Secretary William Hague.

“The days of the death penalty ought to be past. This is not the way that a country that now values democracy and human rights should really be behaving,” Horwood told the BBC.

Harriet McCulloch of human rights charity Reprieve, which is assisting Sandiford, urged the British government to support her appeal.

“Lindsay has always maintained that she only agreed to carry the package to Bali after receiving threats against the lives of her family,” McCulloch said. “She is clearly not a drug kingpin — she has no money to pay for a lawyer, for the travel costs of defense witnesses or even for essentials like food and water.”

In its verdict, a panel of Denpasar District Court judges concluded that Sandiford had damaged the image of Bali as a tourism destination and weakened the government’s drug prevention program.

“We found no reason to lighten her sentence,” said Amser Simanjuntak, who headed the judicial panel.

Prosecutors had been seeking a 15-year prison sentence for Sandiford, who was arrested in May when customs officers at Bali’s airport discovered 3.8 kilograms (8.4 pounds) of cocaine in the lining of her luggage.

State prosecutor Lie Putra Setiawan told reporters that the verdict was “appropriate,” explaining that prosecutors had been demanding 15 years because of Sandiford’s age.

Indonesia has 114 prisoners on death row, according to a March 2012 study by Australia’s Lowy Institute for International Policy. Five foreigners have been executed since 1998, all for drug crimes, according to the institute.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has granted clemency to four drug offenders on death row since he took office in 2004.

The most publicized recent case internationally is that of Schapelle Corby, an Australian convicted of smuggling marijuana in 2005. Her 20-year sentence was reduced last year and she is now eligible for parole, but she remains imprisoned.


Associated Press writer Jill Lawless in London contributed to this report.


CARLOS OLAVARRIA Accused of kidnapping and rape attempt with 5 year old girl

Accused of kidnapping and rape attempt with 5 year old girl

The Union City man accused of kidnapping a 5-year-old girl and exposing himself to her made his first appearance in a Jersey City courtroom today.

Carlos Olavarria, 30, appeared via video link from the Hudson County Jail in Kearny on charges of child abuse, kidnapping, criminal restraint, possession of a controlled dangerous substance and lewdness.

Olavarria’s bail was set at $150,000, cash or bond, although the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office had asked that bail be set at $400,000. Olavarria’s public defender argued that the defendant wasn’t a flight risk and noted that his wife and mother-in-law were in the courtroom.

Olavarria, who lives in a basement apartment in a complex located on the 1500 block of Manhattan Avenue, is accused of forcibly removing the girl from her upstairs apartment and bringing her down to his unit, according to the criminal complaint.

Once there, Olavarria exposed himself and forced the girl to remove her pants and lie down on the couch, according to the criminal complaint.

The child screamed when Olavarria grabbed her, waking up her father in the apartment, Union City police told The Jersey Journal yesterday. The girl’s father was able to take the girl from Olavarria, reports state.

When cops arrived, Olavarria was naked from the waist down and appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic, the police report said. A search of Olavarria’s apartment found a controlled dangerous substance believed to be cocaine in plain view, police said.

Hudson County Deputy First Assistant Prosecutor Debra Simon said the victim was found in Olavarria’s apartment, but could not confirm who found her.

After today’s court session, the mother-in-law declined to comment.

The case has been sent up to lawyers with the Special Victims Unit who will present the case to the grand jury within the next few months, according to Simon

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
-Nelson Mandela

Feds: NYC man who killed 2 cops gets prison guard pregnant

Ronell Wilson is seen in this New York City police photo released March 11, 2003. Wilson allegedly got a guard pregnant at the Brooklyn prison where he was being held.

Ronell Wilson is seen in this New York City police photo released March 11, 2003. Wilson allegedly got a guard pregnant at the Brooklyn prison where he was being held.

— A federal prison guard was charged with having an illegal affair with an inmate convicted in one of New York’s most notorious police killings, later becoming pregnant with his child.

Nancy Gonzalez, 29, was arrested on charges she intentionally engaged in a sex act with Ronell Wilson while working the night shift at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. She became pregnant in June, a few months into the affair, according to court papers. Gonzalez appeared in court today visibly pregnant and crying, her hair pulled back in a ponytail, and was released on $150,000 bond.

“She’s had a very tragic life,” said her attorney, Anthony Rico. “She has long-term issues that affected her life and judgment.”

Her family didn’t comment as a swarm of photographers and television cameras surrounded them outside federal court. Gonzalez buried her head in Rico’s shoulder while he spoke to reporters.

“These are very serious charges,” he said, adding he wouldn’t say whether Wilson pressured Gonzalez into the affair.

Gonzalez faces 15 years in prison if convicted.

Wilson, 30, was a young gang member on Staten Island when he was convicted in the point-blank shootings of undercover officers James Nemorin and Rodney Andrews in a 2006 illegal gun sting gone awry. The officers were both shot in the back of the head. Wilson was sentenced to death, but the sentence was thrown out in 2010 by an appeals court based on prosecutorial error.

Wilson could still face death; a new jury will decide his fate. But the replay of the trial’s penalty phase has been put off as Wilson’s lawyers seek to convince a judge that he’s ineligible for the death penalty because he’s mentally disabled.

In November, a hearing was held on the claim, and a decision from Judge Nicholas Garaufis is pending, though it’s unclear if and how Gonzalez’s arrest will affect the motion.

Wilson was moved to solitary confinement in August while reports of the relationship were investigated.

Toms River teacher accused of having sexual relationship with student

Erin Haskell who works at Toms River Intermediate School South, pictured here, was charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford

Erin Haskell who works at Toms River Intermediate School South, pictured here, was charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford

— A 31-year-old teacher was charged today with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with one of her students at a Beachwood school, authorities said.

Erin Haskell, a Barnegat Township resident who works at Toms River Intermediate School South, was charged with aggravated sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford.

Investigators did not identify the victim because of the student’s age. Haskell remains at the Ocean County Correctional Facility in lieu of $300,000 bail, and she could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted at trial, authorities said.

The teacher has also been ordered to have no contact with the victim.

A call to the Toms River Regional School District was not immediately returned.

Jersey City police charge both mom, boyfriend after girl, 14, raped a second time


A Jersey City man and his girlfriend have been charged in a shocking rape case in which the man was allowed to move back in with the woman and her daughter after he was convicted of sexually assaulting the girl, now 14, in 2010.

Bayonne beating victim’s dad says teen perpetrators got off light

The father of the 24-year-old Bayonne man who was beaten into a coma in 2011 spoke out yesterday in a brief interview hours after an 18-year-old who pleaded guilty in the attack was sentenced to five years in prison.

Piotr Strucinski said the teens charged in the attack on his son Dawid should have received stiffer punishments. Most of the attackers received probation, while John McShea, 18, was sentenced to five years in prison.

Piotr said his son had to relearn how to walk and eat, and still requires assistance with day-to-day tasks like dressing and eating.

“You see your son two months earlier in good health, and then you see this,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking. Absolutely heartbreaking.”

Still, Piotr Strucinski said he understands that he and his family can’t dwell on the past.

“Life has to go on,” he said by phone.

He said it’s been tough for the family since the attack. During McShea’s sentencing hearing yesterday, a letter he and his wife presented to Superior Court Judge Paul DePascale stated how they are in danger of losing their house because of Dawid’s medical bills.

Piotr expressed thanks for all the support his son and his family have received from the community.

He commended the Bayonne Police Department, Jersey City Medical Center, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office for all the work they put in following the July 3, 2011, attack that left Dawid in a coma for weeks.

Piotr also praised Assistant Prosecutor Lynne Seborowski for her work on prosecuting the nine teens charged in the attack, saying she came to the hospital following the attack to speak with him and his wife, Katarzyna.

One Response to Whats New?

  1. Pingback: Whats New? | voicelesssoulsdotorg

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