A Briton who is believed to have fathered a woman’s baby in a Laos prison to save her from a death sentence has gone missing from the jail, prompting fears for his safety.
John Watson was removed from Phonthong prison last week, said the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which admits it has lost track of the whereabouts of the 47-year-old from Bradford, northeast England.
Welfare groups said he had been secretly taken to a “punishment prison” in the capital, Vientiane, and his life was in danger.
Watson is understood to have artificially impregnated Samantha Orobator, 20, with a syringe while they were in Phonthong prison together, so she could avoid the death penalty.
She is expected to be flown home this week to serve her sentence in the UK.
Watson was taken from the jail by Laotian officials shortly before the arrival of UK Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant last Tuesday.
The officials refuse to tell British diplomats where Watson is.
Inmates said he was taken to the notorious “black hole of Samkhe,” an underground punishment cell in Samkhe prison.
A welfare group told the Foreign Prisoners Support Service that the jail was renowned for torture.
“John said he would not survive if he was transferred. It’s ironic that John gave a life to save a life and now his own life is seriously in danger,” said Kay Danes, who runs the service. “He has saved Samantha’s life. Nobody gets transferred from Phonthong unless it’s a punishment. Pro-democracy protesters go there and never come out.”
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”
A Malaysian student whose cellphone was stolen while he was sleeping has tracked down the culprit: a monkey who took photo and video selfies with the device before abandoning it. Zackrydz Rodzi, 20, on Wednesday said that his mobile phone was missing from his bedroom when he woke up on Saturday. He found the phone’s casing under his bed, but there was no sign of robbery in his house in Johor state. JUNGLE When his father saw a monkey the next day, he searched in the jungle behind his house. Using his brother’s cellphone to call his own device, he found it covered