A pregnant Briton who faces death by firing squad if she is convicted of drug smuggling has been told she will go on trial in Laos.
Samantha Orobator, 20, from south London, has been languishing in jail since last August after she was allegedly caught with 1.5lb (680g) of heroin.
Her mother mother Jane wept as she appealed to have her four daughters reunited, saying from her home in the Irish Republic: "I'm just appealing to the British Government, to the Laos authorities, to just please release her."
Reprieve lawyer Anna Morris flew into the country after permission was granted to meet Orobator on Tuesday, but fears the trial will go ahead before the meeting can take place appear to have been realised.
Reprieve believes the trial was initially brought forward to stop Orobator receiving proper legal representation.
It is not known how long proceedings will last and she could be tried, convicted and sentenced within one day.
The British vice consul and Ms Morris were hoping to make representations to the Laotian authorities before the trial began.
Mr Stafford Smith said: "She is five months pregnant, without ever having met a lawyer, facing a show trial for her life.
"If this provokes a miscarriage, the Laotians should understand that they have caused the death of this baby.
"There can hardly be a circumstance where scheduling a capital trial is less appropriate."