Pregnant Brit Facing Execution in Laos -- Don't Smuggle Drugs in SE Asia, People!

Story here. Criminy, but I cannot believe how stupid some people are. I feel sorry for her plight to a certain extent, but I have to say this woman brought this on herself.

More recent reports I’ve seen on BBC TV has it she was pregnant when she was arrested in Laos last year, miscarried in jail, then “somehow” became pregnant again last December in jail, although the Lao government is denying she actually had intercourse with anyone. Hmmm.

They think they’ll be able to work out a deal in which the girl will spend jail time back in Britain. Laos actually boasts no executions – at least, not official ones – for 20 years now. See here.

Her mother, who lives in Ireland, is naturally distraught, as you can see here.

It’s quite simple, folks: DON’T FRIGGIN’ SMUGGLE DRUGS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA! :smack:

In the airport in Singapore, after you land, but before customs, there is a sign that says, basically, “We execute drug smugglers”. Then there is a small nook, that no one outside can really see into, where there is a trash can. One wonders how much contraband they have taken out of that can over the years.


According to the numbers in that, addiction is Singapore is about 1 in 750 people, whereas it’s 1 in 67 in New York.

The letter to the editor you cite offers no source for those claims.

And even if the figures are correct, it’s not exactly up-to-the-minute information.

The date on that letter is 1994.

Remember folks, just because it’s the first Google hit doesn’t mean it’s the best available information.

This is true, but sometimes the first Google hit is also the only Google hit for a particular subject.

You feel sorry for her, yet she’s stupid, she brought it on herself and you started a thread to crow about her potential death? God, I’d hate to see what you’d say about people you don’t feel sorry for.

Yeah. Maybe she found out the laws and had sex with a prison guard because it was either that or death. Maybe she was raped. To me, neither of those options make her a particularly bad person.

Yep, as I thought, she’s not exactly a ‘pregnant Brit facing execution in Laos.’

Extradition, yes. Not execution.

Why did you choose to claim this was a story about a woman and her baby being killed for smuggling drugs, when neither woman nor baby will be killed and the drug smuggling has not been proven?

If you look at the top of the article, you’ll notice that the title of the article is: “Pregnant Briton Faces Execution”, and the first sentence states that she faces death by firing squad. I don’t think the OP is out of line in keeping the title the same.

Well, given that he quoted the part where it says that Laos hasn’t executed anyone for 20 years and doesn’t execute pregnant women, I think both he and the person who wrote the article are in the wrong. Actually, no, not think - I’m certain of it.

Interesting that the OP glossed over the ‘accused’ part and went straight for the ‘this woman brought this on herself’ part.

Siam Sam, please answer me:

Why did you gloss over the fact that she’s only accused, not convicted on any crime?

Why did you go with the title that said she and her unborn child faced execution?

Your OP makes it sound as though you think drug smuggling merits a death sentence for pregnant women. Is that right?

While I think most people would not agree with the laws that punish drug smuggling with execution, I expect people to abide by the law of my country (Australia) and as such see no reason to expect other countries to accept the breaking of their laws. The moral of the story is know the laws of the country you’re traveling to and don’t break them.

Most westerners seem to think that they are above the laws of the host country when the visit. And you know what? They are right.

she is an adult woman. Sorry but next case please.

Isn’t there a chance that she was duped, Bridget Jones style?

Very informative. Thanks for the info. (Not because I’m going there.)

Yes, you are correct. There is a mandatory death sentence regardless of how long it’s been since Laos has executed someone, and a deal has not yet been cut. And quite honestly, since this is Laos we’re talking about, there’s no chance she will be found not guilty. So I stand by my wording.

I also said I felt sorry for her “to a certain extent.”

There’s just no pleasing some people. :rolleyes:

The U.K. papers have been headlining this all over the place as Brit woman faces execution so SiamSiam is quite right to head his post with this.

If the woman wasn’t caught trying to smuggle heroin strapped to her body but is in this situation then I feel every possible sympathy with her and her family.

If however she did try to beat the system and make herself a lot of money criminally then as the saying goes “If you cant do the time then you dont do the crime” and I would incclude in this execution.

If guilty she knew what was at stake when she committed the crime, thats why people make lots of money out of it because of that very risk,small risk,small profit.

So she can’t then whine about her self inflicted predicament when her gamble doesn’t pay off,whatever her nationality,one law for all.

Well, in the US, we have this idea that citizens have a right to punishment that is suited to the crime perpetrated on society. I think that this is to be considered a human right, not just a right I am afforded in my current country of residence.

The law is obviously recognized to be very poor in Laos; there hasn’t been an official execution, even for drug smuggling, in 20 years.

People don’t make lots of money out of drug smuggling entirely due to risk. Drug smuggling may be more profitable in SE Asia due to risk, but the fact is that drugs sell because there is always a demand for them. Everywhere. Always. The penalty for such behavior is of little consequence to those who use or make a profit in drugs.

Further consider that if a psychologist helped you raise a child, that shrink would tell you that in order for punishment to be effective, punishment must be: 1) Swift 2) Consistent and 3) Appropriate. If a law doesn’t fall under those categories, it is less likely to be obeyed by the populace. Drug penalties are none of those things.

Finally, this woman is almost definitely not a drug dealer: she is a mule. What good does executing a mule do? This girl is of less consequence to the dealer than the product he lost when the authorities found it on the woman.

Will executing mules make it less likely for people to become mules? Probably not. It will just encourage people who are more desperate for cash to attempt it; that is, if most of these people even bother to find out about the drug laws in the country they are told to smuggle into at all.

Don’t you think we should have an argument about natural law given the situation?

At the very least, don’t condone a draconian system by saying, essentially, that “the law is the law.” That’s utter stupidity.

ETA: No, I don’t think that western nations should apply pressure to SE Asian countries (or anyone else for that matter) to adopt our legal reasoning. I do think we have valid reasons to condemn such laws on internet message boards, however.

The Bangkok Post ran an interesting article on the mediaeval jail conditions in Laos as a background to this case: Locked Up in a Hell-Hole. I usually don’t link to this newspaper’s stuff, because they charge a fee after a certain time, so read this while you can. (Actually, I’m not sure if they still do this.)

Seems if she’s still in jail when her baby’s born in September, it will be sent off to England. Even if a deal is not cut and she ends up languishing on death row without actually being executed, she could die anyway, as apparently healthy prisoners often end up dying from routine refusal of medical care. Looks like they still use the stocks, too.

I’ve enjoyed my time in Laos myself, and my personal experience with Lao officialdom has been nothing but positive. Of course, I’ve never tried to strap drugs onto my body. There’s also that I’m white and my wife Thai. As with Thais, the Lao are very prejudiced against black people. There as here, anyone of African heritage is automatically assumed to be up to no good, so she would have garnered a little extra scrutiny just for that. I know that does not sound very PC, but that’s honestly just the way it is over here – black skin is often viewed as meaning you were bad in your previous life and are probably bad in this one too, out of presumed anger for having black skin – and telling them it ought to be otherwise gets you stared at as if you’re from Mars.

Yay Buddhism!

At the border crossing into Singapore from Malaysia in the mid 1970’s, there was a poster that said more or less, “This is a man’s hair cut” and it showed both a front and back image of an individual with quite short hair. The sign went on to say that Singapore didn’t allow long haired males into its territory. But there was a Barber shop right there at the crossing if you really wanted to get in.

Can you imagine the kind of hair cut one would have gotten in that place?

I passed and headed back into Malaysia.

From perusing this thread, and the links, though, all we know is that she was “in possession of” the heroin. That could be: strapped to her body, or stashed away in her luggage, or in her house, apartment, hotel room, car, or any such place over which she exercises control. If she didn’t do it deliberately how does she prove a negative? Whenever I hear the mantra about crime and time, I remember that not all laws are just, and just because it concerns a country not my own doesn’t mean I don’t have the right to criticize it. They could bring down that 1:750 ratio even more by the simple expedient of shooting addicts behind the ear. But that wouldn’t make it right.