Pregnant U.K. Woman Gets Life in Prison in Heroin Trafficking Case

A pregnant British woman found guilty in Laos of trafficking heroin has avoided a firing squad but was sentenced to life in prison.

Samantha Orobator was caught with 1.5lbs of heroin at Vientiane airport on her way to Australia.

The 20-year-old admitted the charge before being sentenced, according to Chanthaly Duangvilai, vice president of the Vientiane Court.

Heroin trafficking is punishable by death, but Orobator was spared because Lao law does not allow the execution of pregnant women.

Under a recent pact — which still needs ratification — Orobator could be extradited to serve her sentence in Britain rather than more time in Laos' notorious Phonthong prison.

But Lao officials could still veto her return.

Orobator's case attracted particular attention because she became pregnant while incarcerated.

Lao officials have asserted that she may have artificially inseminated herself while behind bars.

The Vientiane Times newspaper quoted unnamed police as saying Orobator become pregnant with the "help" of another prisoner to "avoid the death penalty."

The Briton was arrested last August but her case did not draw international attention until her condition became public in early May, amid fears she could be executed by firing squad.

According to Lao officials, Orobator initially told authorities she was pregnant by her boyfriend in England. But tests after she was seized showed no signs of pregnancy.

It was not until March 2 that a hospital test confirmed she was with child, police said. That meant she must have gotten pregnant while in prison, they said.

In late May, Orobator's mother Jane said her daughter was not sexually assaulted in jail and the father of her unborn child was not a Lao prison official.

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