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  1. chillinwill
    Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    A pregnant British woman faces death by firing squad if she is convicted of smuggling drugs at a trial in Laos, campaigners have said.

    Prosecutors claim Samantha Orobator, 20, was in possession of 1.5lb (680g) of heroin when she was arrested at Wattay airport in Laos in August.

    Legal charity Reprieve has called on the UK government to intervene with the Laotian authorities on her behalf.

    The Foreign Office says it is "paying close attention to her welfare".

    Miss Orobator, from London, has been held since her arrest at Phonthong prison in the south east Asian country. She became pregnant in the prison in December and is due to give birth in September.

    In Laos, anyone caught with more than 1lb (500g) of heroin faces a mandatory death sentence.

    Reprieve legal director Clive Stafford Smith said that on Thursday the authorities in Laos announced that they were bringing forward her trial by around a year to next week.

    He believes the decision to move the trial was only taken after arrangements were made for her to see a lawyer for the first time.

    He said: "It's pretty shocking that they would do that apparently to avoid her seeing a British lawyer before she has to go to trial.

    "The notion that no lawyer should be appointed to defend her is outrageous."

    He said she was "certainly not guilty" and had originally told police the drugs were not hers.

    Mr Stafford Smith added: "We're dealing with a woman who has clearly become pregnant in prison. Nothing that happens in that prison is voluntary".

    Labour MP Stephen Pound, vice chair of the all party group on the death penalty, said Miss Orobator was being kept "in the most inhumane circumstances".

    He criticised conditions in the prison saying there was evidence of "no space, no light, no exercise, no diet, no food, no consideration of the needs of a woman carrying a baby".

    There is no British Embassy in Laos and the nearest is in the Thai capital, Bangkok.

    A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "We are paying close attention to her welfare and are in discussion with the Laotian authorities about her case.

    "We have visited Samantha every month and we have kept in close contact with the family."

    She said Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Minister Bill Rammell will raise the issue with the Laotian foreign minister when he visits the UK on 7 May.

    But Mr Stafford Smith fears that could be too late.

    He said: "The trial will be over by then. We're calling on the government to do everything in its power".

    He wants the trial to be put back and for Reprieve lawyers and mental health professionals to be allowed into the prison. He is also seeking assurances that Miss Orobator will be provided with a proper defence.

    Miss Orobator was born in Nigeria but lived in south London from the age of eight. Her father lives in Nigeria and her mother and three sisters live in Ireland.

    She had been on holiday in Thailand and the Netherlands before travelling to Laos.

    At least 39 people have been sentenced to death in Laos since 2003.

    BBC News
    May 1, 2009
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8029787.stm

Comments

  1. enquirewithin
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Pregnant Briton Samantha Orobator to face drug smuggling trial in Laos on Monday

    The trial of a pregnant Briton who could face death by firing squad if she is convicted of drug smuggling is to take place tomorrow, according to a legal charity.

    Samantha Orobator was arrested at Wattay Airport in Laos in August last year after she was allegedly caught with 680g of heroin. In Laos, smuggling more than 500g carries a mandatory death sentence.
    Reprieve lawyer Anna Morris flew into the country today fearing the trial would start before they were allowed to meet on Tuesday.

    According to the charity, Orobator was able to make contact with their office in London today and said she had been told the trial would start tomorrow morning.

    Reprieve said the Laotian authorities brought the trial forward in an apparent attempt to stop lawyers from intervening. Up until now the 20-year-old from south London has had no legal representation.
    Speaking from Laos, Morris said she would meet with British consular officials tomorrow.

    She said she understood the system in Laos was that defendants were only able to see lawyers a week before their trials or, in some cases, on the same day trials began.

    She told Sky News: "That has been our concern from the outset, that she has had no access to legal counsel before this week.
    "We don't know that she is going to have any before any trial takes place and we are deeply concerned about the implications of that for her given her vulnerability, given her age and given her lack of familiarity with the system."

    She said British officials had only been able to visit Orobator for a period of 20 minutes once a month. The British only learned of her arrest when she had already spent many months languishing in the notorious Phonthong prison. "Through no fault of their own they simply haven't been allowed the access to her," Morris said.

    "We are concerned about her healthcare standards, we are concerned about her nutrition, we are concerned about her lack of pre-natal care. "This is a vulnerable young woman with child so we are extremely concerned about the lack of access that anyone has had.

    "It's simply not acceptable to allow this young woman to be without a lawyer and then to move the trial to a time she is not certain of and before her British lawyers and consular representatives have a chance to see her."

    Reprieve director Clive Stafford Smith said: "Somehow she managed to get a call through. She told us the trial had been set for tomorrow.
    "This whole process is a farce. The trial is just being put on as a show.
    "They wanted to get it all over with before she was able to see a British lawyer."

    Her mother, Jane Orobator, a student at Trinity College Dublin, broke down as she said: "I'm so scared. I'm so scared. She does not even have her legal representative and they are bringing her for a trial. I don't know what they are up to there."

    She said she found out about her daughter's arrest around late September but did not believe it was really her. "Initially I didn't believe she was the one because of her personality," she told Sky News.

    "I don't believe something like that has happened to her. I thought it was somebody else. She's not that type of girl. It's not in her."

    The justice secretary, Jack Straw, said: "There's not been a sentence of death here but our view about and our policy about capital punishment is absolute: we are against capital punishment in any circumstances and wherever a British citizen has been sentenced to death we make very very strong representations for that sentence not to be carried out and for it to be commuted." Laos broke international agreements on consular relations by not informing the British, apparently using the excuse that they did not have access to a fax machine.

    There is no British embassy in Laos and the nearest is in Thailand. The FCO found out "by coincidence" when the Australians passed on information from another inmate in Phonthong prison.

    Foreign office minister Bill Rammell said he will raise the case with the Laotian deputy prime minister when they meet in the UK on Thursday. Campaigners have also raised questions over how Orobator, who is due to give birth in September, could have become pregnant while in jail. Stafford Smith said: "She is five months pregnant, without ever having met a lawyer, facing a show trial for her life.

    "If this provokes a miscarriage, the Laotians should understand that they have caused the death of this baby. "There can hardly be a circumstance where scheduling a capital trial is less appropriate."

    She has been held since her arrest at the notorious Phonthong prison, where inmates have complained of being beaten and abused. Orobator was born in Nigeria but lived in south London with her aunt from the age of eight. She lived in Camberwell and Peckham before leaving the country to travel to Ireland, Holland and Thailand. She is understood to have been arrested in Laos on her way back to the UK. In the prison, cells measuring four square metres are used to house up to six prisoners. The daily ration reportedly consists of two bowls of pig fat water soup and 500g of sticky rice, and most prisoners rely on their families to deliver food. Other prisoners have reported incidents of abuse and torture, with some inmates having their genitals burnt.

    Since 2003 at least 39 people have been sentenced to death in the east Asian country.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/03/samantha-orobator-laos-smuggling-trial

    Comment:

    Another victim of the the War on Drugs. Britain has little right to complain. It was international pressure that made Laos conform to the absurd UN position on drugs. Like many third world countries they over-reacted.

    This is tragic, but also warning to people thinking that Laos is such a laid back country that drug smuggling doesn't matter.
  2. amre
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    This is Sick. The jail is an All women jail! The girl was raped and now they will kill her for sure to stop everyone from finding out the abuse she sufferd.:mad:
    She was in jail for 9 months and shes 5 months Pregnat.
    SCUM BAGS.

    I dont care if she is the Baron Drug lord of earth. They cant Rape her then shoot her dead. I hate this fuking planet.

    If she was white it would be front page news. All the west up in arms for the "wrongly accused White Woman" I really feel sick..
  3. sandoz1943
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    You got to wonder how many local women have been inprisioned, raped, and put to death that no one outside thier family cared enough about to get involved. Sure this isnt the first time and sadly not the last either.
  4. Bajeda
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    There isn't a single fax machine in the entire country!?! And fax machines are apparently the only way for one government to get in touch with another?


    This entire thing is a sham, whether Ms. Orobator is truly guilty or was simply a diversion for drug smugglers, and way this miscarriage of justice is being carried out is reprehensible.
  5. Mona Lisa
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    I hope they at least let her give birth before they shoot her. It's not fair to kill the unborn baby off too, I don't care if it was the product of a rape...it's all so sad.:(
  6. thebige
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    It is real nice the put one of her modeling cover shots in the story for her picture......
    I wonder what she looks like now.........
    A Beautiful woman.......



    SAD
  7. enquirewithin
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Yeah! I was thinking along the same lines.
  8. pinksox
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Somehow, I highly doubt that Britain is going to allow Laos to execute one of their citizens, especially a female citizen--pregnancy aside(which the Laotian own laws prevent)--for a drugs charge.

    I'd foresee them leveling human rights violations against them for her incarceration-induced pregnancy as-is.

    Make no doubt, part of the decision to make her story so widely publicized was to put increased diplomatic pressure upon Laos. They'll free her before too long..or stand to lose billions in foreign aid and multiple countries cutting off their diplomatic ties with them.
  9. DopinDan
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    I hope that's true, but to be put to death (or even threatened with death) because of government, collectivist, prohibitionist policy, hit's at the very heart of the human rights violation that is the "drug war" and the UN single convention, and all that other man made bullshit, designed to control the bodies of the masses.
  10. its just a ride
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Orobator was arrested in Laos on August 5, 2008 on her way home to Britain after travelling through Ireland, the Netherlands and Thailand. She had allegedly been caught with 1.5lb (680g) of herion at an airport in Laos. Orobator is pregnant and due to give birth in September, 2009. Prosecutors have confirmed that she will not face the death penalty. repreive and experts on Laos justice system have claimed that they do not believe Orobator will get a fair trial, due to the hard drug laws of Laos. The vice-consul of the British mission in Bangkok flew to Laos to see Orobator, and British Foreign Office MinisterBill Rammell pledged to discuss her case with the Laotian Deputy Prime Minister.

    its just a ride added 0 Minutes and 24 Seconds later...


  11. cannabis-sam
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Aside from how horrible this is, I really do not agree that less of a deal has been made about it because of her skin colour, it's been quite big news over here and nobody has given the impression that it's less important because it's black, infact I don't think it was even mentioned in the article. It really irriates me when people claim some form of rascism whenever a black person is in the news, imo it furthers racial segragation.

    It is very sad, even if she doesn't get the death penalty, the asian drug laws are awful, it's amazing how penalties can be worse than the things they fail to prevent.
  12. enquirewithin
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    It was front page news in some of the papers (not that the media is not biased). She is not going to have a happy life for many years, with her new child. Another victim of the war on drugs, but not a very sensible one.
  13. enquirewithin
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Drug charge woman 'impregnated herself'
    Tuesday, 2 June 2009

    A British woman facing trial in Laos for alleged heroin trafficking secretly impregnated herself with the sperm of another prisoner in a bid to escape the death sentence, a government-run newspaper said today. Samantha Orobator's case at first drew international attention over concerns that she could be executed by firing squad if found guilty. But under criminal law in Laos, a pregnant woman cannot receive the death penalty. The British Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, said it had been notified by Lao authorities that her trial would begin tomorrow. The Vientiane Times quoted police as saying that the woman told authorities she secretly obtained sperm from a fellow prisoner to impregnate herself to avoid the death penalty. The newspaper did not name the sources or give other details.
    This article is from The Belfast Telegraph

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/drug-charge-woman-impregnated-herself-1695002.html
  14. enquirewithin
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Pregnant British drugs smuggler gets life

    Pregnant Briton Samantha Orobator was found guilty of heroin smuggling and sentenced to life in prison by a court in Laos today. A British Embassy spokesman said the verdict on the 20-year-old from London was handed down at a one-day hearing in the capital Vientiane.
    [imgl=red]http://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=8925&stc=1&d=1244071420[/imgl]Heroin trafficking is punishable by death, but Lao law does not allow the execution of pregnant women. Under a recent pact, she could be extradited to serve her time in Britain. Orobator's case attracted attention because she became pregnant while in a women-only jail. Lao officials think she may have managed to artificially inseminate herself. Orobator arrived in court wearing a blue prison outfit and smiling to reporters. She was escorted by women prison guards but was not in handcuffs or ankle chains. Her mother also attended the trial and looked distressed leaving court after the trial, but Orobator appeared calm.


    Police said they found 1.5lbs of heroin in 68 capsules on Orobator when she was arrested at Vientiane airport on her way to Australia. The British legal charity Reprieve said the drugs were found in her luggage. Orobator was arrested last August, but her case did not draw international attention until news of her pregnancy became public in early May amid concerns that she could be executed by firing squad if found guilty. The Lao government later confirmed that under the country's criminal law, a pregnant woman cannot receive the death penalty, but officials delayed her scheduled trial date in May because of questions about how she became pregnant. According to Lao officials, Orobator initially told authorities she was pregnant by her boyfriend in England, but tests after she was arrested showed no signs of pregnancy. It was not until March 2 that a hospital test showed she was pregnant, verified by a second test April 4, police said. That meant she must have become pregnant while in prison, they said.

    Orobator's mother recently said her daughter had not been raped by prison officials or fellow prisoners, as some media had speculated. The Vientiane Times yesterday quoted police as saying Orobator admitted she secretly obtained sperm from a fellow prisoner to impregnate herself to avoid the death penalty.

    Press Association Wednesday, 3 June 2009
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/pregnant-british-drugs-smuggler-gets-life-1695837.html
  15. Alicia In Wonderland
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Well, this is like a horrible soap opera, this whole ordeal.
    She's 20 year's old. And she's sent to life. She'll be in jail for at least over 50 years.
    She probably didn't even begin to live her life. What a shame.
  16. cannabis-sam
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    I was thinking the same as alicia however half of me says it was her own fault, because it's well known how harsh the penalties are in those countries, it seems insane she'd pick laos. But still it is utterly tragic and i feel terrible for the poor woman.
  17. Alicia In Wonderland
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    I agree, it was definitely her fault for doing something so completely stupid in such a strict country, but I also think that it's comes with her age in a sense. Young people do stupid things without thinking of the consequences. I believe that the ability to realize the effects of your actions is the last thing your brain develops (and I think that finished developing at 25 yrs. if I remember correctly).
    Which is why this saddens me so much. She doesn't even have the opportunity to redeem herself from her mistakes. This is a mistake that will cost her her life, and I find that absolutely unnecessary. It's not like she went on a murdering spree, she was just a stupid young girl.
  18. enquirewithin
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Her 'crime' is a victimless one. It is a great shame. The war on drugs is a war against ordinary people. She showed no common sense as she did not research the penalties. If she really did artificially inseminate herself that was a clever thing to do. Whose baby will she give birth to?
  19. cannabis-sam
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    Unfortunatly it's always the small time runners that get caught, the people making most of the profit aren't taking any of the risk.
  20. enquirewithin
    Re: Pregnant Briton 'faces execution' for 1.5 lbs of heroin in Laos

    In Laos, the big dealers will have connections very high up.
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