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Pregnant British Woman Could Face Laos Death Penalty

Another reminder that carrying drugs to countries with draconian anti-trafficking laws is extremely dangerous: a Nigerian-born woman from London arrested for carrying heroin may face death by firing squad in Vientiane, Laos.

Samantha Orobator, 20, was arrested in August for carrying 1.1 pounds of heroin in the Laotian capital. Anna Morris, a lawyer for Reprieve, a group that uses the law to enforce human rights for prisoners, told CNN that "For that amount of heroin the sentence is normally the death penalty."

On top of her other woes, Orobator became pregnant in prison, and her lawyers worry that she may have been raped there. There is no British embassy in Laos, but the British Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell said that Laos authorities are aware that the British government is opposed to the death penalty and have dispatched British Embassy officials and the British Ambassador to visit her.

Orobator's trial begins this week.


Join The Conversation
princesscutielu princesscutielu 8 years
I have been wondering for sometime what has happened to Samantha Orabator, the 20 yr old who is currently pregnant in jail in Malaysia for smuggling drugs. Searching on the internet for more information on this case I came across this site and all of your comments. My heart goes out to this very unfortunate individual but more than that I am very disappointed but not totally surprised at some of the comments that I have read on this site. Before I make my comments I do believe that everyone is entitled to their views and I am truly grateful for this priviledge. I encourage everyone to stand up for what they believe in, we are blessed to live in a society where this is not only encouraged but allowed. I do not condone the fact that she has alledgedly comitted a serious crime and I feel that she should be punished if she is guilty, (but not by firing squad, that is not necessary), but this is a 20 year girl who, on researching, has been in a number of abusive relationships, making her an extremely vulnerable individual/victim. If she made the choice to smuggle drugs she may have felt that this was her only choice, her only chance of making money, money that would help her to make a better life for herself. I ask you for just one minute to imagine you are this girl. A girl alone in a country thousand of miles from home, in a country with a language that is so far removed from anything you can comprehend. Is it not possible that she may have had these drugs planted on her at the airport, by airport workers, or duped by a man that promised her the world? She may have even done this a few times and got away with it. We will never know the answers to these questions, why, because this woman has been denied a basic human right, the right to freedom of speech, the right to be represented by a lawyer and the right to share her side of the story of what actually happened to her and how she came to be in this terrible situation. The fact is we will never know what is truly happening because we live in a world where news is monitored and unless you are inquisitive and research news on the net you end up believing exactly what the media want you to believe. To add insult to injury this woman became pregnant in an all female prison. How does this sort of thing happen? She may have been raped, or she may have used her body as a way to buy some of the necessities needed whilst in prison in a country with no family or friends. It does make me wonder how differently this story and its outcome would have been if Samantha was white and english. For starters tabloid papers like The Sun would by now have organised a campaign to free her, to put pressure on the Government to step in and save this poor girl, who had been duped into carrying drugs. Let us not forget that Samantha would not have been the drug cartel/mastermind behind this. Cast your minds back to the two girls caught smuggling drugs in Thailand many years ago, were they not released and sent home to England. If you are all interested in finding out a little more about this and other horrific injustices happening all around the world I ask you to go to the organisation who are trying to assist Samantha and many other people who are held in prisons and secret prisons around the world. I am not a political activist or a member of any type of organisation and I am not a religious fanatic. I am just a human being who cares about other human beings and just wants to promote peace, harmony and knowledge amongst humankind. Thank you for taking the time out to read my post, I hope that it will just trigger more people into talking about this and other injustices happening throughout the world and put an end to it all. x
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
Umm I think one big thing people are missing is "she became pregnant in jail" while I think what she did was wrong and under "normal" circumstnaces she should suffer the Laotian punishment i.e. Death the fact that she had sex with someone while in jail puts the ethics/morals/jail system of Laos in question and therefore puts their right to put her to death in question as well.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
1.1 pounds is a helleva lot that is not minor crime in the United States. Granted I don't think it's worthy of the death penalty and I hope that her charges get reduce you do have to recognize another countries rights to enforce their laws. There are other countries that don't have the death penalty at all, and the U.S. Justice system feels that there laws should be respected and recognized so why shouldn't Loas'. Because a country is "3rd world" etc doesn't mean you should go to that country and disrespect it's laws. My problem is she became pregnant in prison ( A SHAME) which brings up questions about their jails and may give her "dont kill" me case merit!
bacon1 bacon1 8 years
"Another reminder that carrying drugs to countries with draconian anti-trafficking laws is extremely dangerous"... That statement sounds like its ok to carry drugs to countries, as long as they don't have the death penalty. I think this is simple, you break the laws, there are penalties. If she had the drugs, she's not an innocent party. And if she really was "a talented young girl" with "aspirations to be a medical doctor" then she shouldn't have been smuggling drugs. If you don't break laws, then you don't have to worry about the consequences. I don't feel sorry for her at all. Her baby, yes.
greenvillegirl greenvillegirl 8 years
This is definitely a case that should be dealt with in the UK. Not only because the death penalty is always wrong, but because of the probable human rights abuses that occurred. She is a citizen of the UK and should be tried in a country that practices humane law.
danni2009 danni2009 8 years
Well it is only 'allegedly'...nobody knows if she was actually carrying that much heroin, or even any at all...the Lao police are reknown for being a bit....dodgy shall we say. I feel so sad for her. She is clearly a talented young girl (I read she has aspirations to become a medical doctor) living in the direst of conditions, facing death by a terrifyingly inhumane method. I really hope she gets freed, and if she did it, released back to the UK and dealt with more humanely there.
RockAndRepublic RockAndRepublic 8 years
Thy should deport her and let her country deal with her. How sad.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Think how many people could have died from that heroin. It would have been their own fault. They would have suffered the consequences. This just shows that you should know what you are getting yourself into and accept the consequences. I hate the death penalty, but I believe in personal responsibility. This isn't a jury case where it is unknown, but a set punishment that was known before hand. Poor baby, not poor woman.
itsme3683 itsme3683 8 years
I wouldn't put it past them, either. It would be unfortunate, but I can't believe how insanely stupid that was. When my boyfriend and I have traveled to certain Muslim countries together, we've always had to get separate hotel rooms--better safe than sorry when there are laws that you don't fully understand.
margokhal margokhal 8 years
Well dang...I mean, 1.1 pounds of heroin isn't something that just *accidentally* ends up in your bag, you know...sigh. She definitely needs jail time, because that is just one of THE dumbest moves. It's a shame she got caught in a country that executes for a large drug possession, but that's the breaks. Research the laws of countries you visit before you go, then maybe she would have thought twice about whether the haul was really worth getting killed for. I feel bad for this child. I think they will wait until after the kid is born to execute her - unless the British ambassadors don't get to her in time. I wouldn't put it past them to execute a pregnant woman, though. The law's the law, no matter how unnecessary or ancient or whatever it is.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 8 years
This reminds me years ago when I was a kid living in Indonesia, Malaysia, a neighboring country has similar rule with Laos (if you carry drugs there for more than a certain amount, the penalty is death because it shows an intent to distribute and they have very strict anti-drug law there). Then an Indonesian man was captured carrying more that the set amount, hence he was hanged (pretty quickly too, it didn't take years or months). The Indonesian government pleaded for him to be released to their custody to be put in Indonesian jail, but to no avail. If they allowed her to not face execution while other cases have ended up in execution, then it's obviously preferential treatment for her. Then again, she's pregnant, and may be out of rape too. Maybe they will let her give birth first before the sentencing/result of the trial. Or maybe they'll let her go free to the custody of the Brits. I'm curious about how this turns out.
kty kty 8 years
execution is definitely unecessary,but damn what was she thinking?i feel bad for her and her unborn child.
bgorgeouss bgorgeouss 8 years
Execution is harsh and unnecessary, but I do think this woman deserves a few months prison sentence for her crime. I don't think being pregnant should be her ticket out of prison.
oni1 oni1 8 years
wow how unfortunate! you would think she would know its wrong to smuggle drugs and the consequences could be dire. what was she thinking? i wonder if they won't execute her because of the pregnancy.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 8 years
While I don't feel bad for her (maybe you should do a little research on the laws before you intend to break them), I do feel bad for the unborn child. Will they wait until after the baby is born to execute her? And if so, will they have a family to take the child? It's a complicated situation, to be sure.
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