Daily archives: May 4, 2009

Don’t Shoot Samantha Orabator – But You Can Keep Her

In 2003, over 10% of female prisoners in the UK’s jails were foreign women with drugs convictions.


I can’t find a more recent number, but there has been no substantial change in the scale of the problem. A lot of them are from Nigeria, where Samantha Orabator was born.

In the case of another London Nigerian, Yatunde Diya, who was convicted two years ago in Ghana, I wrote:

“I am sick of the easy presumption by large sections of the media, whenever a British person is arrested abroad on drugs charges, that they are being unfairly dealt with by a tinpot state, and have been set up by evil foreigners.”


But there are important differences. Diya was in Ghana, which has a basically fair legal system. Orabator is indeed in a “Tinpot state” – Laos, which has a nutty communist regime. And she faces the death penalty, even more horrible as she is is pregnant. It is that possibility which gives the story sufficient frisson to headline the news.

I don’t know enough about Laos to know if they execute pregnant women, but killing pregnant women appears to be a universal cultural taboo. I do know enough about Laos to know that it is not a place to ordinarily expect a fair trial. All communist societies, including Uzbekistan, have almost a 100% conviction rate. The State is perfect, so the Prosecutor cannot make mistakes.

This poses an interesting conundrum. It would not be sensible to adopt the position that a Briton should be allowed to commit any crime at all in Laos – say murder – without any expectation of punishment, because it does not have a system of fair trial.

I hope that the lawyer Reprieve are finding her does a good job at trial, and perhaps through diplomatic pressure the death sentence could be commuted if she is convicted. But for us to try to insist the Laotian authorities release her immediately from imprisonment would be quite wrong. There is no particular reason to believe that they have invented the story that she is a drug smuggler.

If you are going to comment, please first read my earlier post linked to above for all the caveats on what leads to drug smuggling etc.

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Oprah Winfrey’s Heart Broke

Just heard on Sky News:

“Oprah Winfrey has revealed how her heart broke when she interviewed Kate and Gerry McCann.”

Great News! Oprah Winfrey’s dead! How did she reveal it though? In a seance? At the post mortem when her diaphragm was opened?

This disgusting McCann couple at the very most charitable interpretation, left tiny children all alone in a foreign hotel room while they were off having fun. More than once. I can think of much worse possibilities. When will the media stop promoting them?

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A Gentleman’s Diary of the Pig Plague Year

Mrs Murray and I continue very Well, with no need of Physick. Yesterday we took our Promenade down to Gunnersbury Park. We made a picque-nique with some Roast Fowl and a quart of claret, and watched the Gentlemen of Acton in a match at Cricket against some visiting Gentlemen.

Mrs Murray commented what a goodly Providence it was, that had assured that, even in these terrible times of Plague, each team had yet been able to find eleven players, and some of them very fine looking and Portly!

The talk was all of Baroness Udders who has been caught stealing from the public purse. Nobody could recall a single reason why a woman of such small Distinction might have been elevated to the Peerage. It is believed, however, that she commands prodigious many of the new postal ballots in a Rotten Borough very nigh upon the Tower, where the poor disgraced Mr Blair had been much beset by Liberals. Mrs Murray observed to me that Baroness Udders was a mere Harlot who should be Whipped around the Town. I cannot find it in my heart to disagree with her.

Returning home up Gunnersbury Road, we passed by an emporium for funerary services. We were very much surprised to see that all appeared quiet. Perchance the proprietor had collapsed from overwork, and become himself, in that sense, a Victim of the Great Pig Plague? That we should live to see such Melancholy times!

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