As senior Lao ministers arrive in London, Reprieve will deliver a letter to Gordon Brown urging him to bring Samantha Orobator home to Britain.

May 6, 2009

Image of Samantha Orobator

Reprieve, together with the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, will tomorrow deliver an urgent letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown calling on him to do whatever it takes to bring pregnant Briton Samantha Orabator home.

The letter will be delivered to the gates of Downing Street at 10am on the day the Lao Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs visit the UK.

Samantha Orobator, 20, was arrested at Wattay Airport on 6th August 2008 on a drug smuggling charge. Since then she has been held in the notoriously abusive prison Phonthong where she became pregnant in early December. Samantha has still not seen a state appointed Lao lawyer, nor does she know when her trial will take place – although it is thought be scheduled for next week.

Reprieve lawyer Anna Morris is still being denied access see Samantha, following the sudden cancellation of a pre-arranged meeting. No official explanation has been given by the Lao authorities. Reprieve urges the Lao government to formally appoint Samantha a Lao lawyer and allow them and Anna Morris confidential access to Samantha. Reprieve must also be allowed to support Samantha throughout the trial process in Laos, carefully monitoring its impact on her health.

Samantha is 5 months pregnant and enduring the most stressful of circumstances. After the revelation by the Lao Government yesterday that she had already suffered one miscarriage in prison, Reprieve’s main concern is for her health and that of her unborn child.

In London, we urge the British Government to sign a treaty of prisoner exchange with the Lao Government that will allow Samantha to return home before June 6th, when she enters her third trimester.

-ENDS-

For more information please contact Katherine O’Shea at Reprieve’s Press Office katherine.oshea@reprieve.org.uk 020 7427 1099.

Notes for Editors:

Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.

Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 33 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánamo Bay, working on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’

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