Death for dishonor?

A woman being held in a prison in Laos has been told that if she says she was raped in prison, she will be executed by firing squad after the baby is born. Baby? What baby? She has been in prison for eight months and she is five months pregnant.

“British inmate must deny rape to live”

Samantha Orobator, who is five months pregnant, was arrested in the capital Vientiane in August for allegedly importing about 680g of heroin, the Daily Mail reports.

She was immediately transported to Phonthong prison, a squalid jail where guards are reportedly known to coerce female inmates into sex.

Laos authorities expect Orobator, who goes on trial this week, to testify that she was not raped inside the prison.

If she refuses, the London woman will be tried again after she has given birth — when she will not be immune from the death penalty because she is pregnant.

A Laos government spokesman appeared defensive when asked who fathered the baby, the newspaper reported.

“It is a mystery — maybe it is a baby from the sky,” the spokesman, Kenthong Nuanthasing, said.

“We don’t want the outside world to blame us.”

Orobator is said to have already written a letter stating she has not been raped or had sex while she was in prison.

Her lawyer Anna Morris flew to Vientiane last week but has so far been refused access to see her, the newspaper said.

Ah. So she has been convicted of carrying drugs. She might not have known that they were there. Or she might. I guess that can get you a death penalty in Laos. But, like a female pirate in the old days, she can “plead her belly” and serve time in prison. (I don’t know what that meant for pirates; maybe they survived only until the baby was born or maybe they raised a child in prison.)

However, Laos is jealous of its good reputation. So even though she was in Phonthong prison, and even if she doesn’t implicate anyone, if she says she was raped in prison she’ll be whisked off for a second trial on the same charges when the baby is born, and this time she’ll get the firing squad.

If that ever happens to me, I hope my country will ask to transfer me home to serve my sentence in a nice Canadian prison. But it’s not likely. I can just imagine our government saying, “You can have her! Not our problem. It’s your justice system — we wouldn’t dream of interfering.” Right, Mr. Harper?

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