Mr. Chanthaly Douangvilay, deputy head of the Lao People's Court, confirmed that British national Samantha Orobator was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted by the Lao People's Court of drug possession and trying to smuggle it out of the country.
Ms. Orobator was convicted yesterday during a trial in Vientiane. She was arrested on August 5 of last year at Wattay Airport with 680 grams of heroin in her possession, which she said was given to her by two foreign nationals who reside in Laos.
Mr. Douangvilay said the Nigerian-born Briton, who is 26-week pregnant, would have been given a death sentence under Lao criminal laws, but her pregnancy spared her that ultimate penalty. He also stressed that her pregnancy was not a result of rape during her imprisonment, adding that an investigation has revealed that the 20-year old woman impregnated herself with the sperm that she received from another prisoner. Samantha Orobator has reportedly admitted to self-impregnation. Investigators said she had been a medical student in Britain, so she undoubtedly know how to successfully impregnate herself in order to avoid the death sentence.
Mr. Douangvilay concluded that it is now up to the Lao and British governments to decide what to do with Samantha Orobator, but it is possible that she will be extradited to Britain to serve her punishment there under a prisoner exchange agreement signed by the foreign ministers of the two nation in early May.
Songrit Pongern reported in Lao on 6/4/09. For more details in Lao, listen to Songrit's report or read our Lao version. Dara Baccam summarized in English.