Saberi Free, Lee and Ling Still Locked Up
I am very glad that Iran opted to do the right thing by releasing journalist Roxana Saberi yesterday. I was worried that this would drag on for years or end badly but luckily this story has a happy ending.
I am hoping the same for Euna Lee and Laura Ling who, as of today, have been prisoners of North Korea for 44 days and haven’t had contact with Western Officials since March 30. As far as we know they haven’t been sentenced yet but they have been accused of illegal entry and allegedly carrying out hostile activities.
Another story that has been getting a bit of attention off and on in the press is the story of Samantha Orobator. Orobator is a British citizen and is alleged to have been smuggling drugs into the country of Laos which is punishable by death. Orobator made the news a few weeks ago when the country of Laos set aside her death sentence by firing squad because she’s pregnant. She had arrived into the prison pregnant but lost the child shortly after and is now pregnant again. The prison is known for guards who allegedly coerce female prisoners into sex. A Laos government official is evasive when asked who fathered Orobator’s child saying, “It is a mystery — maybe it is a baby from the sky”.
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.
So Orobator’s best chance of getting out is to deny she was rape. Maybe she wasn’t; I could lean to the side she had sex with an unknown, possibly germ infested stranger if it meant it could save her life. She could catch a disease that could take her life, but nothing takes your life faster than five guys with rifes shooting bullets at you.
Part of the reason why I think Orobator’s story isn’t getting much attention is she’s a mule. Unlike Lee or Saberi, Orobator is not a journalist entering a country to get a story but instead she was (again that word) allegedly transporting drugs. But then we don’t know whether she commited the crime or not because like Lee and Ling she has not been allowed to speak with her western lawyer.
Let’s hope that justice prevails in both these cases.