Lao and British authorities started
to implement their extradition treaty, which enabled Lao authorities to
transfer Samantha Orobator to Britain
to serve the remainder of her sentence.
Lao authorities transferred Samantha Orobator, a 20-year-old British national convicted of drug possession, to British authorities in a hand-over ceremony at Vientiane's Wattay International Airport on the evening of August 6.
prisoner extradition was implemented according to a treaty signed by the
ministers of foreign affairs of both countries on May 7 in London. But the treaty was not in effect then
because it had not yet been ratified by both countries' parliaments, so the two
parties signed a memorandum of
understanding on the implementation of the treaty on July 28 to enable a speedy
transfer of the pregnant British prisoner.
British authorities confirmed that Samantha Orobator was extradited to serve the remainder of her sentence in her homeland, Britain.
As for Laos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Thongloun Sisoulith, who signed the extradition treaty with British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, said this prisoner extradition, apart from reflecting his country's intention to maintain a good relationship with Britain, also shows that Laos is committed to abiding by humanitarian principles.
"The Lao government has signed a prisoner extradition treaty with the British Foreign Minister, so it will implement that accord. The Lao government maintains a humanitarian policy regarding this issue, and the Constitution forbids the execution of pregnant women, and the Constitution or Lao laws dictate that court proceedings must be carried out with justice and humanitarianism," said the Lao Foreign Minister.
Samantha Orobator was sentenced by the Lao People's Court in June on charges of possessing 680 grams of heroin when she was arrested at Wattay Airport last August. Lao criminal codes stipulate that a person convicted of possessing more than 500 grams of drugs must be punished by execution, but because of her pregnancy the Nigerian-born Britain was given a life sentence.
It has never been clear or
determined how she became pregnant. Speculations abound, with some people believe that she was raped during
detention. However, an investigation by Lao authorities
concluded that she impregnated herself with the sperm that she received from
another prisoner. Investigators said she
was able to do so as she had been a medical student in Britain.
Orobator, now more than seven-month pregnant, is due to give
birth in September, a factor that contributed to her speedy transfer back to
Songrit Pongern reported on Aug. 11, 2000. Buasawan Simmala summarized in English.