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Samantha Orobator

May 5, 2009

15274475It amazes me how so many white and white-identified people are quick to become so righteous regarding the law when the person suffering the inhumane consequences is a black woman. In the comments below note the insistence in focusing on her African origins and the demand that she not be considered British, obviously a ploy to maintain the default delusion that African=black (bad, undeserving of help and compassion), British=white (good, deserving of help and compassion). Now, I am not trying to sound like the town crier, because we know we have enough of those on the internet already, but please explain to me how a struggling 20-year-old woman had the money to travel to several countries and buy a pound of heroin. She was exploited.  Period. Most 20-year-olds if of the right race, sex, and class would be given the benefit of the doubt, however, people are already concluding that this woman should die for her alleged crime before she even goes to court. And, to top it off, many are more concerned about her unborn child than they are her, —although her pregnancy is more than likely the result of a prison rape.  A RAPE!  The man who raped her is being invisiblized when language such as “she got herself pregnant”  is used.  How in the fuck does a woman in foreign prison get herself pregnant?  If the math clearly demonstrates that she has been pregnant within the time she has been imprisoned, she was RAPED!

Now, the media is saying that she will not face the firing squad because she is pregnant.  Okay, what does that mean?  Will she face the firing squad after she delivers the child? Will the man who raped her be sentenced to a firing squad? Will the men (and yes, we know it was men) who exploited a 20 year old face a firing squad?

Reading through the following comments, how can little be concluded other than black/brown women are disposable and not worthy of basic human rights.

Yet another British-passport holder (this one with dodgey return plans) flies to a foreign land (not known for great tolerance) & is immediately embroiled in drugs, yet people here expect her to be returned with a slapped wrist!
Unfortunately for her the courts in Laos have jurisdiction, not GB’s

Annie, Machynlleth,

She knew the risks. Why should this country waste money trying to save her. She was willing to live the high life whilst smuggling illegal drugs that would have ruined many others.

Lee, wales, uk

Please stop referring to these people as Britons, you are shaming those of us who are British. Because the British government is loony and constantly working against British people and the British way of life doesn’t mean the British people accept, or agree with them. In fact we don’t.

michael, Nottingham, England

There will have been signs everywhere warning of zero tolerance for drug trafficking. In Singapore we have the death penalty for trafficking and we have no illegal drugs in the country at all. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. Why should she be exempt from the law?

Kay, Singapore,

if you smuggle heroin, you will kill people and ruin countless more. she should be made to pay as she broke the law regardless of what lies are made up to get her out of it. she’s not even British so why appeal to the UK government? Why should the UK bail out a drug smuggler who isnt even British?

Liam, Aberdeen, Scotland

There is evidence of drug smuggling in this article, the weight of the heroin found. Heroin, the addictive drug that ruins lives and kills people. If found guilty show the same compassion she had for others. Wait till the baby is born then carry out the sentance. Don’t want more drug smugglers in UK

Mick, London,

Before you go to any country you should research its judicial, political and medical systems. What on earth was this young woman doing alone in Laos in the first place if she wasn’t there to obtain drugs? She surely does not expect us to believe the airport authorities invented the story?

david, Orlando, USA

If the heroin she was trying to smuggle had hit the streets she would have more or less condemned the end user to a death penalty while she no doubt would have enjoyed the wealth this deadly trade provides to those who deal in this drug .

Baz, Edinburgh,

She was caught bang to rights smuggling heroin for money.
Dispense with the last cigarette – it’s bad for the baby.

Gwilym Rhys-Jones, Marbella, Spain

Shes not even British, she using us a flag of conveniece, her mother is in Ireland and her farther is in Nigeria, why do the British Goverment waste time and resources on these “play Brits”.

stuart lamb, Astrakhan, Russia

Well, heroin destroys life and families. People who become involved in heroin trade are evil. I am not sure if I should sympathise with someone who has put heroin in her luggage destined for the UK.

Abe, Tokyo, Japan

Some of these comments are beyond belief. Yes, she has committed a crime. Does she deserve to be shot? No. The death penalty is barbaric in any circumstance, but for a young pregnant woman it’s an abhorrent thought. Also, she wasn’t pregnant when first caught – she didn’t do this to herself.

Genie, Leeds,

People are innocent until proven guilty. Yes we need to respect the laws of the countries we visit, but in this case im not inclined to put my faith in the justice system of a country willing to shoot a pregnant woman and who seem to be denying her the right to legal council.

Ben, Wirral, England

If she did do the crime then I think she’s payed the price and
I believe that she has been raped which is not right. One must not forget that she is only a minor at 20yo.

mike, oxford, uk

Hang on, we don’t know that she has smuggled drugs. There has been no trial yet, she’s merely accused. Whatever happened to innocent ’til proven guilty? Don’t judge until you know all the facts everyone!

Michael, Edinburgh,

Some of you are being very unfair. It has not been proven that this girl was smuggling drugs. The fact that they want to execute a pregnant woman is unbelievable. I wonder why this case is not getting any coverage here in the states.

Devin, New York, United States of America

Tragic! When I visit Singapore, the SG Government make it VERY clear what the penalty is for drug trafficking! Never been to Cambodia, so do not know how clear that is. Singapore Airlines let you know before you land in SG that this is a capital offence!
So WHY risk your life?
I will pray for her

Alastair , Windsor, England

I can’t believe this board. This girl, will be lined up against a wall, terrified and alone, having being raped at LEAST once and then she’ll be shot whilst carrying a baby. Have some compassion. You’re all so quick to assume she’s guilty. Imagine it was someone you know – your sister or friend

Davey, Belfast, N. Ireland

How is it not one news broadcasts of this story have highlighted the fact that she has been in custody for nine months but is five months pregnant? Does that not say something about these prisons?

Dee, London,

Withdrawl all aid? Laos is one of the most undeveloped and poorest countries in the world that has been abused by the French and Americans, and your suggestion is to withdrawl aid to it’s people? Very smart. If you enter someones house and spit at them, face the concequences.

David, Sydney,

Please pray for her and her child.

John, Aberdeen,

If you have ever watched Locked Up Abroad on National Geographic; people want to make easy money. The dealers convince them it is safe and they go along with it. For some reason these drug mules never consider the penalty for getting caught.

Dana, Newport Beach, USA

We are so priveligded. Death sentence doesn’t equate in our lives. It is abroad, unreal.
Lets help this young abused and used women free to tell us her story and give her some nurturing hope for her future for the future of her unborn child
Bring her home.
Murdering two people is barbaric. Shame.

Gill Lange, Dundee, Scotland

She deserves support from the UK government and a fair trial, but if she committed the crime then she has to take her punishment according to the laws of the country she is in.

Neil Murphy, cromer,

Our Government should withdraw all aid to Laos and not reinstate aid until. A. She has a fair trial. B. An investigation is carried out into how she became pregnant

Agree that if you have committed a crime in a country you have to face the penaltly, however she must have a fair trial.

John Gregory, Sidcup, Uk

it’s about time the britons understood that the rest of the world is no longer their private backward. regardless of your opinion on these draconian laws, they must be respected as such for as long as they stand

paulo, sao paulo,

If you can’t do the time, don’t commit the crime.

TonyC, Plymouth, England

People need to be careful. This is a young womans life on the line. IF she did the crime in a counry that carries the death penalty then carry it out. And pray it does not sear into your soul if it doesn,t bother you.

But Laos, rape , maltreatment? Her death is not going to change the drug problem!

Chris Cooper, London, England

I wonder if the comments would be different if she was blonde and blue eyed?

just curious.

Ovie Imoni, Calabar, Nigeria

I can’t see how she get any worse of a trial than this have your say. Seems like a few people here instantly believe she is guilty.

The whole point ‘guys’ is that you’re innocent until proven guilty. Considering she hasn’t been to court yet, don’t you think you are all a little presumptious?

William, Manchester,

This is horrific. Of course we should respect the laws of the country’s that we visit up to the point where those laws start to abandon international human rights; at this point we should stop. Ms Orobator and her unborn child need our help – regardless of whether she is guilty or not

Olivia, Cambridge, UK

If she were a white woman, we would not even be discussing this, it would be quite a different story and outcome. No one deserves to die for selling drugs, no one, period. Peace.

PAHairston, Washington, DC, USA

I think she has been set up by a drugs gang, I mean why did she travel to Holland first before Thailand/Laos? Surely the Lao authorities can see this? Maybe they just want to make an example of her to the rest of the world.

adrian gunn, farnham, uk

My problem with this ugly situation is who took advanage of this young lady.. being locked up in a foreign country, not speaking the language and being raped… Lets fight for her… being rape was her punishment.

vonniw, maildin, sc, USA

People know the risks when they decide to smuggle drugs. They are happy enough to reap the rewards of their ill gotten gains if all goes according to plan. They must also accept their punishment if they get caught.. If you play with fire………..

David, Cardiff, Glamorgan

are they actually going to kill her while she is carrying a child , yes she may have broke the law but taht baby inside her is innocent ,
she si also very young , young people make mistakes , she does not belong in that country in that awful prison , id saybring the poor girl home

evette, bolton, LANCS

She may well be innocent, there is no evidence as far as anyone knows and if there was I’m sure it would have been produced and her imprisonment justified early on.

She is also 5 months pregnant having been arrested 8 months ago. The whole thing stinks and our goverment should do more!

Ben, blackpool, england

Clearly she got pregnant after she was in jail as 9 months has passed already. She’s young, yes she may or may not have done a stupid thing – who knows! Nobody deserves treatment like that whether they have travelled to a medival country or not!!! I hope that the Uk pulls out the stops

Joanne, Aberdeen,

she should abide by their laws but equaly everyone should get a fair trial.

Edward smith, Birkenhead, UK

as fortunate travellers us britons need to respect the laws of every country we visit. We must also subject ourselves to the penal systems of each country that we visit. We would be foolish to expect the UK to dig us out of any mess but are fortunate to have a proactive forgeign office.

marc, Leeds, England

I have an idea! Don’t go to medieval countries!

andrew, Godalming, UK

If the good lady is pregnant and all, why did she do what she did?

Sumathi Iravatham, Bhopal, India

The only thing British about this woman is her passport!! She has done the crime time for her to face the punishment! It should be brought back in the UK

Mike, Stockton on Tees, England

Tough luck
Anyone involved with the importation or distribution of drugs deserves what they get.

Mike, Farnborough, Hampshire

you know the consequenses before you do the crime so you have to abide by other countrys laws try telling those who have lost there children through heroin to let her free

paul edwards, wrexham, united kingdom

  1. Polly Styrene permalink
    May 5, 2009 6:53 pm

    My first guess was that the comments were from the Daily Mail, but the Times is just as bad. Generally the reporting (not the comments) of course of Samantha Orabator’s plight here has been sympathetic and concentrated on the lack of proper representation. But those newspaper message boards are infested with racist woman haters.

  2. May 5, 2009 6:57 pm

    But those newspaper message boards are infested with racist woman haters.

    Yeah. I noted to myself how many are using “male” names. My head has been spinning since I first started reading this case. It is hard not to think they (men) are getting some kind of jerking off pleasure when reading about a situation such as this one.

  3. May 5, 2009 7:18 pm

    So, are they just waiting until she gives birth to murder her?

    • May 5, 2009 7:53 pm

      I don’t know. But, that’s just it, she has not even went to trial yet. But, it seems that the general sentiment is that she deserves death (guilty or not, pregnant or not). That is why I asked the following questions in my post:

      Okay, what does that mean? Will she face the firing squad after she delivers the child? Will the man who rape her be sentenced to a firing squad? Will the men (and yes, we know it was men) who exploited a 20 year old and either tricked her into carrying drugs be facing a firing squad?

  4. Polly Styrene permalink
    May 5, 2009 7:52 pm

    According to the BBC, she will now not face the firing squad.Actually having said the reporting (that I’ve heard) here has been largely sympathetic, the BBC website report carries the completely irrelevant paragraph:

    Miss Orobator was born in Nigeria and lived in south London from the age of eight. Her father lives in Nigeria and her mother and three sisters live in the Irish Republic.

    Would they mention her being born outside the UK or where her parents lived if she was white?

    • May 5, 2009 7:55 pm

      No, if she was white they would not mention if she was born, say in Canada or Germany.

      Polly, what does it mean that she will not face the firing squad? Does it mean ever? Or (if found guilty) may face the firing squad AFTER she gives birth?

    • May 5, 2009 10:27 pm

      That’s what I wanted to know! When Polly said she wouldn’t face the firing squad, I took it to be an update, and wondered if *now* there were some stipulation for her murder after the birth.

    • May 5, 2009 11:06 pm

      Margie, I don’t think we are going to find the answer to that question any time soon. I have read at least five articles and none of them say. One did say that there has not been anyone killed since 1989, who has been sentenced to the firing squad. I suppose, they are just in a permanent state of awaiting the firing squad. Which, I guess could be any day. Imagine that kind of torture. Each morning could be the morning that you are to go out and receive your murder. And this whole business and speculation about consent ties into your post from yesterday. How in the hell did she consent while she was in a women’s prison.

  5. rose permalink
    May 5, 2009 9:13 pm

    You should read some of the lovely comments left on Jezebel’s site by someone named ‘Chuck”

    ” Because I disagree that a rape occurred as a penalty – rather, it seems that someone took advantage of their authority and her precarious situation. I don’t think it matters who did it – a second crime doesn’t change or eliminate the seriousness of the first. She’s not suddenly innocent or excused from her own actions because of whatever happened afterwards.”

    rape = “took advantage”?

    Does not matter who did it!

    rape= “whatever happen afterwards”?

    When another poster tried to dispute “Chuck”another poster wrote,

    “I’m sorry but you make arguments about how things are not so “black & white” in terms of the girl not actually smuggling the drugs or being forced to be a drug mule but on the other hand you are making SUCH assumptions about who raped her, when it happened and the motives for a whole government in orchestrating it. Seriously?

    Sometimes I cannot believe that these so called feminist sites allow such comments .

    • May 5, 2009 11:11 pm

      I have a story at least a year old (well, that’s how long I have been working on it) about the whole “took advantage of.” When I was growing up, the act of rape was softened by saying “she was took advantage of.”

      Jezebel is not a feminist site, regardless of how much they click their heels and wish it.

  6. May 5, 2009 9:15 pm

    “”This is horrific. Of course we should respect the laws of the country’s that we visit up to the point where those laws start to abandon international human rights; at this point we should stop. Ms Orobator and her unborn child need our help – regardless of whether she is guilty or not

    Olivia, Cambridge, UK

    If she were a white woman, we would not even be discussing this, it would be quite a different story and outcome. No one deserves to die for selling drugs, no one, period. Peace.

    PAHairston, Washington, DC, USA”

    But but, TWO PEOPLE in a row said something sympathetic. That means racism and sexism don’t exist.

  7. May 5, 2009 9:16 pm

    And indeed that poor woman. She must be so frightened.

  8. atheistwoman permalink
    May 5, 2009 9:31 pm

    It actually reminds me (the piling on) of what happens to white women in some circles. They see privilege (being white) and are justifiably upset about the whiteness, but then use the *women* as the whipping girl. And they project the worst qualities of whiteness onto white women so you end with this stereotype of this fainting weak useless ditzy stupid white woman crying about nothing. Here they see the “privilege” first world citizen, and are projecting onto her the “stupid first worlder ignorant about their laws and disrespecting everyone” but are ignoring that she happens to be a young black woman.

    • May 5, 2009 11:14 pm

      If she is a woman (of any color), a privilege will be found in order to crucify her. Mean while, men snapped, feared for his family, could not handle the stress, should be allowed indiscretions of youth, etc.

  9. atheistwoman permalink
    May 5, 2009 10:50 pm

    And yes you are right Kitty, there is also the other side, with some commenters trying to make out as though she is not british.

  10. May 5, 2009 11:20 pm

    One comment (I cannot remember where now) stated that she got pregnant on purpose, probably seduced the guard. That is an example of one of those reversals Amy goes on about. The men, the guards, have all the power, yet, some how this completely helpless imprisoned woman had power over a man, seduced him and made a baby, all so she could not face the consequences of her actions. Actions that she participated in because she wanted to make a quick buck to buy a Prada handbag. What a sneaky golddigger.

  11. May 9, 2009 4:07 pm

    Those comments were totally disgusting. I couldn’t even read all of them.

    Poor woman, pregnant from a rape and in a foreign jail with possible death sentence.

  12. soul permalink
    May 14, 2009 12:40 am

    Why bother going to the dailymail website, just go to What about our daughters a black woman run site and read the comments there.

    It was on the WAOD site that someone said she got pregnant on purpose so she wouldn’t face the death penalty.

    It’s on that site that someone said ‘oh she’s Nigerian and they are heavily involved in the drug trade even their women.

    And it is on that site that no one spoke up to counter the ridiculous insinuation.

    She grew up in Britain. She has lived here and is a product of a British environment. I’m confused by all this pearl clutching that the paper commenters are doing.
    Is this not the UK we are talking about, where cocaine is a recreational drug taken by teenagers on a weekend. And I’m not talking about black teenagers here.

  13. May 14, 2009 2:03 am

    Oh, soul, I know. I saw those comments. It was atrocious.

    I don’t generally jump in there because of the support of the madonna/whore dichotomy of the very type illustrated by the comments to that post.

  14. May 14, 2009 2:48 am

    Now it is being reported that she must swear she was not raped, or face the firing squad after giving birth:

    Terrible choice for jailed mum-to-be Samantha Orobator

    By Simon Parry in Vientiane

    The Daily Telegraph

    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.”

    Laotian leaders are sensitive to suggestions Orobator might have been raped in jail.

    “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.”

    Orobator has written a letter declaring she was not raped and had not had sex while in prison.

    Although officials claim Phonthong prison is a women-only jail with female guards, staff there said it had male and female guards and separate male and female blocks.

    A French former inmate who spent five months there in the ’90s said: “Female prisoners were coerced into sex with promises from guards that they would get them off the death penalty, get them a shorter sentence or make life inside more comfortable.”

    Human rights lawyer Anna Morris flew to Vientiane last week to represent Orobator but has been refused permission to see her.

  15. atheistwoman permalink
    May 14, 2009 2:54 am

    ““It is a mystery – maybe it is a baby from the sky.””

    Sorry hon, those only happen once every two thousand years…oh hey, it’s your lucky day!

  16. atheistwoman permalink
    May 14, 2009 2:55 am

    Did I mention I am side-splittingly angry?

  17. Polly Styrene permalink
    May 14, 2009 6:20 am

    Oh yeah I was going to comment on the ‘sky baby’ as well. But I really didn’t have the strength.

  18. May 14, 2009 10:57 am

    Oh, for crying out loud. Here we go again with the can’t-call-a-man-a-rapist bull.

    I mean, it’s not as though anyone would really expect the Lao government to prosecute him. Hell, we hardly prosecute them here in the US.

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