Pregnant British woman Samantha Orobator, convicted of drugs smuggling in Laos, could serve her jail term back in the UK after successful talks between British and Laotian authorities. She’d been threatened with the death penalty after trafficking 680g of heroin, but became pregnant in jail. Under Loatian law, pregnant women cannot be sentenced to death.
British Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said, “I very much hope that with any luck Samantha will be able to return in the next week or ten days.” Samantha, who is 20, has also been helped by Reprieve to be able to serve her sentence in the UK.
Some of you have already been commenting on this blog. Keith says I would argue that for the most part, people should be accountable to the laws stipulated by the government that they are in- after all, we would expect citizens of other countries to respect our laws within our borders, would we not?
However Venessa argues in some places it would be difficult to know if the charges were genuine and that creates a sticky situation that is tough to deal with.
There’s also the case of Gary McKinnon, an Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer, who is accused hacking into US military and NASA computer systems. A few days ago, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was asked about the case and said, “The Garry McKinnon case raises a number of issues and anybody who looks at this must be sympathetic to someone who suffers from Asperger syndrome.”
Gary spoke to BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday. Writing on their blog, Archmoomoo writes: Asperger’s Syndrome shouldn’t be an excuse. I don’t want people on the autistic spectrum breaking into my house (or computer) and getting away with it just because they leave a message on my fridge door saying they were only looking for a cup of sugar and that my home security is poor. But Knellerman writes: Welcome to Asperger’s: Right motive, wrong action. Gary was looking for UFOs, not hacking into military secrets. As for Gary coming across as arrogant, that is often a sign of AS. Poor insight into own behaviour.
But if you commit a crime in a different country, should your punishment or imprisonment also be there? Is it right that convicted prisoners are helped by their governments to come home to serve their sentence? Conditions in jails may be better in their country, is it fair that these prisoners are helped in this way? And why should a foreign country pay for the upkeep of a criminal from another country?