British national Samantha Orobator, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of a drug crime by the Lao People's Court and later extradited to Great Britain, appeals for her release on the ground that she was forced to commit the crime because her life was threatened in Laos.
British media in London reported that Samantha Orobator's lawyer, Edward Fitzgerald, appealed to the British High Court on December 08, 2009, for the release of his client, who was convicted and given a life sentence for heroin smuggling in Laos. Fitzgerald argued that Orobator was forced to commit the crime because she
was threatened by two Nigerian men, who had raped her and then forced her to smuggle heroin out of Vientiane to Australia via Thailand by threatening her life. He added that the rape impregnated her but she later had a miscarriage as a result of mistreatment at Vientiane's Wattay International Airport by police who pushed her to the ground during the arrest.
Samantha Orobator, a former medical student, admitted to self-impregnating during her detention at a prison in Vientiane so that she would become pregnant again and be spared the death penalty that, she knew, she would receive in accordance with Lao criminal laws. Her lawyer further claimed that, while in Laos, she had no chance to freely defend herself and was pressured to plead guilty to the crime so that the Lao government could send her back to Great Britain according to the extradition treaty signed by the two countries.
For their part, Lao authorities have not commented on Orobator's appeal. But they have, in the past, constantly insisted that she was humanely treated and fairly prosecuted in accordance to Lao laws.
Songrit Pongern reported in Lao from Bangkok on Dec. 15, 2009