Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Pregnant British woman could escape death penalty: Laos

Pregnant British woman could escape death penalty: Laos

A British woman facing trial in Laos on drug charges may escape the death penalty because she is pregnant, a Lao government spokesman said yesterday.
Samantha Orobator, 20, was detained in August after allegedly being caught with 680 grams of heroin while she was trying to board a plane to Thailand.
Normally anyone found in Laos with more than 500 grams of heroin faces the death penalty.
"But another provision of the law also provides that any pregnant (woman) will not be sentenced to the death penalty," said the government spokesman, Khenthong Nuanthasing. He said a judge would decide on the sentence at the trial.
Orobator's mother, Jane Orobator, has told Britain's Sky News television that her daughter was not pregnant before her arrest.
Khenthong said he understood that the trial - initially expected sometime this week - would be postponed until next week "due to the issue that we need a lawyer for her."
The Laotian government will provide her with legal counsel, and the justice ministry is compiling a list of lawyers from which she will be able to choose, he added.
The British charity Reprieve, which helps people facing the death penalty, has sent a representative to Laos and is seeking the appointment of a Laotian lawyer to represent Orobator. Earlier yesterday, Anna Morris of Reprieve said that a meeting expected with Orobator still had not been confirmed, nor her trial date. "We are very much in the hands of the Lao authorities, and very much in the dark," Morris said.
"They should be making it a priority to allow us to see her," she said.
In London, a Foreign Office spokeswoman said Britain's vice consul at the embassy in Bangkok had flown to Laos and was "intending to visit her in prison imminently." A British embassy spokesman in Bangkok said he had not received official confirmation of the trial date. The spokesman said British diplomats first visited Orobator on Aug. 14, within a week of being notified of her arrest, and had returned several times since.
In a statement dating from last July, global human rights watchdog Amnesty International said there had been no executions in Laos since 1989. Khenthong said he understood some foreigners had received death sentences "but in practice it's not implemented."


Updated : 2021-05-15 17:01 GMT+08:00