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UPDATE: Pregnant Briton To Escape Death Penalty In Laos

A British woman who had been facing possible execution in Laos will escape the death sentence because she is pregnant, a spokesman for the Laotian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.

The country’s criminal law prohibits courts from sentencing pregnant women to death, spokesman Khenthong Nuanthasing told CNN. The woman’s trial hasn’t been scheduled yet, he said, but is likely to happen next week.

Samantha Orobator, 20, was facing death by firing squad for drug trafficking, said Clare Algar, the executive director of Reprieve, a London-based human rights group.

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Pregnant Black Woman May Face Firing Squad in Laos, May 4, 2009

From UK Guardian:

The trial of a pregnant Briton who could face death by firing squad if she is convicted of drug smuggling is to take place tomorrow, according to a legal charity.

Samantha Orobator was arrested at Wattay Airport in Laos in August last year after she was allegedly caught with 680g of heroin. In Laos, smuggling more than 500g carries a mandatory death sentence.

Reprieve lawyer Anna Morris flew into the country today fearing the trial would start before they were allowed to meet on Tuesday.

According to the charity, Orobator was able to make contact with their office in London today and said she had been told the trial would start tomorrow morning.

Reprieve said the Laotian authorities brought the trial forward in an apparent attempt to stop lawyers from intervening. Up until now the 20-year-old from south London has had no legal representation.

Speaking from Laos, Morris said she would meet with British consular officials tomorrow.

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