You may have already read about Samantha Orobator, a British woman who was arrested on charges of smuggling heroin into Laos last August. If convicted, the sentence for her alleged crime is death by firing squad. On top of all of this, she is five months pregnant — which means that she became pregnant while incarcerated, in what is reportedly “one of Asia’s most squalid jails.” Her mother has stated that she’s worried her daughter may have been raped, but also has not been allowed contact with her daughter.
Obviously, Orobator’s mother’s concerns make a whole lot of sense — indeed, I have to wonder how she could have not been raped. She was in jail. The only males she is supposed to have contact with are the guards. And anyone who thinks that a person can give meaningful consent to someone who effectively acts as their captor seriously needs a remedial lesson in what exactly “meaningful consent” means.
Anyway, we last week we got the news that Orobator will not be executed due to the fact that she is pregnant. Obviously the fetus’ life is more important than the grown woman’s, as the fetus is “innocent” and the woman may or may not be guilty of committing a crime. There was also word of a possibility that she would be transferred to jail in the UK if convicted.
A PREGNANT British woman arrested for heroin smuggling in Laos has been told she must testify she was not raped in prison in order to escape the firing squad.
Samantha Orobator, who is five months pregnant, was arrested last August at Wattay airport in the capital Vientiane for trying to smuggle 680g of heroin.
The Londoner was not pregnant at the time of her arrest.
The 20-year-old goes on trial this week and will be asked to declare publicly that she was not raped in Phonthong prison, one of Asia’s most squalid jails.
If Orobator co-operates, she will be transferred from Laos to a UK prison under a new treaty signed between the two countries on Thursday. If not, her trial will be postponed and she will return to jail in Laos.
If she faces trial again after the birth of her child, she will not have the immunity from execution that pregnancy gives her under the Laos penal code.
A Laotian Government spokesman, Kenthong Nuanthasing, said: “She will tell the court, otherwise she will stay here. Nobody can guarantee that she will not face the firing squad.”
So she can either deny that she was raped or be killed. And the Laotian government seems to have no issue whatsoever with being public with such information.
It is worth noting that Orobator has reportedly written a letter denying having been raped. We don’t know what might have coerced her into such a statement, and again I have huge difficulties imagining a scenario of consensual sex in her position — after all, the letter also reportedly said that she had not had sex. So barring access to artificial insemination in the jail, one of those two statements must be a lie.
But, let’s assume for one moment, for the sake of argument, that she told the truth on the count of rape. It’s hardly the point. The point, those who would wish to make it something else, is that when asked the question of whether or not she was raped, a woman should be able to give an honest answer, whatever it is. She shouldn’t be explicitly told that the price for just answering “yes” to that question is her life.
Then, even more ludicrously, there is this:
“We don’t want the world to blame us,” Mr Nuanthasing said.
Asked who fathered the baby, Mr Nuanthasing said: “It is a mystery – maybe it is a baby from the sky.”
Is that, like, supposed to be fucking cute or something? Whatever the meaning behind such a statement, it’s outrageous and shows what kind of ridiculously self-serving and misogynistic apologism/denialism Orobator is up against.
I wish her the best and hope that she does whatever she has to do to save her life. And I hope that no women is ever put in such a horrific position ever again.