A Briton convicted of smuggling drugs who faced the death penalty in Laos until she became pregnant in jail is to serve the remainder of her sentence in Britain.
A government official in the capital, Vientiane, said today that 20-year-old Samantha Orobator had become eligible for transfer following an agreement last week on prisoner transfers between the two countries.
Orobator, whose case made headlines because of her conception behind bars in a women-only unit, is the first British inmate to benefit from the diplomatic protocol signed last week. She was caught last August at Vientiane’s Wattay airport carrying more than 0.6kg (1.3lb) of heroin, well above the amount for which people can be executed in Laos.
Orobator, who moved from Nigeria to south London at the age of eight, was sentenced to life imprisonment in June after conceiving in Phanthong prison in January. Another British drug smuggler in the jail, John Watson, 47, has been named as the father but neither has confirmed that the child, which is due to be born in September, was conceived after a sperm transfer in the visitor’s area of the jail.
Watson will be eligible for transfer under the agreement but a Laos government spokesman, Khenthong Nuanthasing, only confirmed the move for Orobator, whose friends say was never involved in drugs or crime.
“A memorandum of understanding was signed concerning the transfer of sentenced prisoners and that will allow her to serve her term in Britain,” he said. Orobator’s transfer could be delayed by an unpaid fine of £42,000 that was also part of her sentence, but Nuanthasing hinted that this would not be an obstacle.
“We don’t know when the transfer will take place, but we hope it can be very soon,” he said.
Orabator would need to travel to the UK within a fortnight before airline rules will bar her from flying in a late stage of pregnancy.
Britain is bound to stick to the life sentence under the protocol, but Orobator could be released within a few years under the court tariff system.
Source: Guardian UK