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British diplomat visits pregnant Brit in Laos jail

 This undated image made available in London, Saturday May 2, 2009, by British legal action charity 'Reprieve'  shows Samantha Orobator. Orobator, 20,...

Britain Laos Jailed Briton

This undated image made available in London, Saturday May 2, 2009, by British legal action charity 'Reprieve' shows Samantha Orobator. Orobator, 20,...

Laotian authorities allowed a British diplomat and a doctor to visit a pregnant Briton detained on drug trafficking charges, an embassy spokesman said Wednesday.
The British Embassy's vice consul from neighboring Thailand met Tuesday with 20-year-old Samantha Orobator, who Laotian officials have said will not face the death penalty because the law bans executing pregnant convicts.
"An embassy official did visit yesterday and he was accompanied by a doctor who checked her medical condition," said Daniel Painter, the spokesman of the British Embassy in Bangkok. Britain does not have an embassy in Laos.
"We cannot comment on her condition because we have a duty of consular confidentiality," he said.
It was the eighth time a British diplomat has visited Orobator since her arrest on Aug. 6, Painter said. Rights groups had earlier said Orobator had been jailed for months before the British government learned of her detention.
Orobator was arrested after being allegedly caught with 1.5 pounds (680 grams) of heroin in her luggage.
Normally, anyone caught in Laos with over 1.1 pounds (500 grams) of heroin is subject to the death penalty, but it does not apply to pregnant women, Foreign Ministry spokesman Khenthong Nuanthasing said Tuesday.
Orobator's trial was not expected to start until next week so that a lawyer _ who must be a Laotian national _ could be found to defend her, Khenthong said.
The circumstances of Orobator's pregnancy remained unclear, though Khenthong said she told authorities in an interview after her arrest that she had become pregnant by her boyfriend.
The British legal charity Reprieve said Orobator was five months pregnant, meaning she became pregnant while in prison, but they could not confirm that because she has not yet had access to counsel.
A doctor sent by the Australian Embassy to visit Orobator in March told Reprieve that she is due to give birth in September.
Laos is a one-party state and rights groups say the judicial system is beholden to the communist regime that has ruled since 1975.


Updated : 2021-05-10 08:01 GMT+08:00