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Deal paves way for pregnant British inmate's Laos transfer

  • Story Highlights
  • Official: "Memorandum of understanding" speeds up prisoners' return
  • Samantha Orobator and John Watson could be home within weeks
  • Orobator, 20, was jailed last August, charged with carrying heroin
  • Circumstances under which Orobator became pregnant in prison unclear
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Britain and Laos have signed a deal to fast-track the return of two Britons jailed in Laos -- including a heavily pregnant woman, a Foreign Office spokesman said Tuesday.

Briton Samantha Orobator has been sentenced to life in prison for heroin smuggling.

Briton Samantha Orobator has been sentenced to life in prison for heroin smuggling.

That means Samantha Orobator and John Watson could be home within weeks, the spokesman said.

Each prisoner must now apply for return under the agreement, said the spokesman, who asked not to be named in line with policy.

Britain and Laos signed the deal in May to allow the return of Orobator and Watson, the only Britons held in Laos, the spokesman said.

Normally, that agreement would have to go through parliamentary procedures before passage, the Foreign Office spokesman said.

Monday, Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant signed a memorandum of understanding with Laos that speeds the prisoners' return, the spokesman said.

Though not specific to Orobator's case, the agreement was signed with her in mind, because officials hope she can give birth in Britain.

Orobator is in her third trimester and can safely travel for only two more weeks, Bryant told Sky News from Bangkok, Thailand.

She was jailed in August after being arrested with about a half-kilogram of heroin at the airport in the Lao capital, Vientiane, officials have said. Last month, she received a life sentence for drug trafficking.

Watson also is jailed on drug charges, the Foreign Office spokesman said.

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The circumstances under which Orobator became pregnant in prison remain unclear.

She told her mother she was not raped and that the father is not a prison official. A government-run Lao newspaper reported that Orobator said she impregnated herself with sperm from another prisoner.

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