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RE: Laos insists trafficking trial of pregnant Samantha Orobator

kirsty osei-bempong
6 May 2009 | International
Samantha Orobator
Samantha Orobator

A 20-year old British woman who travelled to Laos could face execution after officials in the country found 0.6 kg of heroin in August last year. This amount exceeds the statutory minimum for the death penalty in Laos.

It is believed that Samantha Orobator, whose parents hail from Nigeria, was not pregnant when she entered Phonthong Prison - a women only prison but became pregnant in December. The prison is notorious for incidents of physical abuse, including rape and even death.

A facebook page has been created for her with information on how interested people can support her. It reads:

facebook page
Samantha Orobator grew up living with an aunt in Camberwell. She was arrested in Laos with 0.6 kg of heroin in August last year - an amount that exceeds the statutory minimum for the death penalty in Laos.

Although Phonthong Prison is a woman's only prison Samantha became pregnant in December, and is due to give birth in September.

It is understood that her trial was planned for next year but on Thursday 30th April the Laotian authorities announced that it had been bought forward to next week. Samantha has still not seen a lawyer.

Clive Stafford Smith, the founder of Reprieve said yesterday "It's absolutely no coincidence that yesterday the Laotians announced that they were moving her trial up probably by a year to next week. 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."

Reprieve believe that Samantha's life hangs in the balance. There are many reports of abuse and several deaths in Phonthong Prison, including that of a British national last year. Conditions remain harsh and the diet is dangerously inadequate and Reprieve has grave concerns for her health and that of her unborn child.

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