British officials to meet woman facing death penalty

A pregnant woman facing the death penalty in Laos will meet British consular officials today amid growing fears she may not receive a fair trial after being imprisoned on drug smuggling charges.

Samantha Orobator, 20, from south London, was arrested nine months ago at the country's largest airport from where she was trying to return home. In January, while still in prison, she became pregnant in circumstances which have led to claims that she may have been raped.

It was initially thought the Briton, who is accused of smuggling just over 500g of heroin, might face trial as early as yesterday. In Laos, smuggling more than 500g of the drug carries a mandatory death sentence.

Representatives of the legal charity Reprieve publicised her case and over the weekend her mother Jane Orobator, a student at Trinity College Dublin, made an emotional plea for her daughter's release. Yesterday the Laotian government insisted the trial would be carried out fairly but was unable to confirm when it would happen, other than saying it was expected this week.

Today the Londoner will be visited by the vice-consul from Bangkok – the nearest British embassy to Laos – and Anna Morris, a lawyer from Reprieve. Ms Morris said she was concerned that Ms Orobator had not been assigned a defence lawyer, and that any hearing "may be quite quick in comparison to what happens in other countries".

British officials have only been able to visit Ms Orobator for 20 minutes once a month, after learning of her arrest after she had already spent many months in jail.

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. He said: "The British Government is opposed to the use of the death penalty in all circumstances. We have made the Laotian authorities aware of this at the highest levels in Samantha's case."

Ms Orobator was born in Nigeria but grew up in Camberwell and Peckham, from the age of eight. Phonthong prison in the Laotian capital, Vientiane, where Ms Orobator is being held, has a reputation for beatings. Cells measuring four square metres are used to house up to six prisoners and the daily ration reportedly consists of two bowls of pig-fat water and rice.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
filmPoldark production team claims innocence of viewers' ab frenzy
Life and Style
Google marks the 81st anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster's most famous photograph
techIt's the 81st anniversary of THAT iconic photograph
News
Katie Hopkins makes a living out of courting controversy
people
News
General Election
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Office Administrator is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - Commercial Vehicles - OTE £40,000

£12000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion and growth of ...

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - Sheffield - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer position with a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Leader - Plasma Processing

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Operations Leader is required to join a lea...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders