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Pregnant Orobator back in the UK to serve her sentence
SAMANTHA Orobator, the pregnant Briton jailed for life in Laos for heroin smuggling, arrived back in the UK on August 6.

The 20-year-old from Peckham, south London, was caught with 1.5lb (680g) of the drug at Wattay airport in the capital, Vientiane, last August. Orobator escaped the death penalty because she became pregnant in jail and will complete her sentence in the UK. She said she was “enormously relieved and happy to be back on British soil” after “an unimaginable nightmare”.

Orobator was handed to UK officials by the Lao authorities in what they said was a “humanitarian gesture”. She arrived at Heathrow Airport at around 0630 BST, having flown from Laos’s capital, Vientiane. A BBC reporter at Heathrow said all other passengers on the flight were asked to get off the plane before Orobator was escorted from it. With uniformed police standing by, Orobator stepped off the aircraft to be met by a prison van due to take her to Holloway prison, north London. Correspondents said Orobator, who was not handcuffed, laughed as she arrived on the tarmac.

At the prison she was reunited with her mother Jane in a two-hour meeting.

Speaking afterwards, her mother said: “She seems good, she seems as good as she could be. I’m so happy, I was so excited, I was hugging her. The priority is medical care, I live for the baby to be OK.”

Orobator was expected to meet her lawyers to discuss her case. In a statement, she said: “I would like to thank all those who were involved in my return, including various British government officials, for their efforts on my behalf, and for their support.

Meanwhile, I would be grateful for a little peace as this has been a very traumatic experience both for me, and for my unborn child.”

Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said: “We do not condone any crimes involving illegal drugs. We work around the world to combat the use of illegal drugs.”

However he added the transfer was “excellent news”, saying: “It means that Samantha will give birth in the UK, close to her relatives and under UK medical care. This is clearly the best outcome for all, not least her unborn child.”

He also said the Foreign and Commonwealth Office was continuing to work for the early transfer of John Watson, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who is also imprisoned in Laos for drug smuggling. Watson, 47, was identified as the father of Orobator’s baby in a statement read out on her behalf by the local prosecutor. Her statement said she had artificially inseminated herself while in prison using Watson’s semen. Her baby is due in September.

At an earlier press conference, her mother spoke of her relief at her daughter’s return, saying, “I can look forward to my life again.” The prisoner’s aunt, Augusta Oghagbon, said the family was “overjoyed” at the repatriation. She added: “It’s like it is Christmas for us today, but even more than that. We have all been so worried about her but now we can get some rest, knowing she is safe.”

Orobator admitted trying to smuggle the heroin through Wattay airport in an effort to take it to Australia.

Samantha Orobator was born in Nigeria in 1988 and moved with members of her family to the UK when she was eight years old. Her uncle, who was described as her father figure, was killed in Nigeria and the family were given UK asylum status as a result. Her mother, Jane, who is a student, now lives in Dublin with Samantha’s three younger siblings. Her father remains in Lagos.

Described as a “bright and friendly” pupil by her former teachers, Samantha Orobator was raised by an aunt in south London.
 

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