Friday, 21 January 2011

Cambodian lawyer lodges new bail appeal for Thai activist

via CAAI

BANGKOK, Jan 20 – Thailand’s Foreign Ministry on Thursday confirmed that a Cambodian lawyer has appealed to the Cambodian Supreme Court seeking the temporary release of Veera Somkwamkid, a Thai activist whose bail request was earlier rejected, saying the court’s decision is expected in five days.

Chavanond Intarakomalyasut, secretary to Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, said the bail application was filed by Mr Veera's Cambodian lawyer to the Supreme Court today and the result is expected to be known within five days, the same as the previous requests submitted to the lower court.

Regarding talks between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Foreign Minister Kasit and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Mr Chavanond said the discussions focused on how to secure the release of the seven Thais and the possibilities to coordinate with Cambodia so that the court can deliver its verdict at the earliest.

The premier has instructed the foreign ministry and the defence ministry to do by all means to bring the seven Thais back home safely as soon as possible," said Mr Chavanond. “Among possible options we earlier discussed are to seek royal pardon or extradition, but it is too early to comment as no verdict is yet given."

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Abhisit said he did not want the case to be prolonged, but stated that Thailand has not interfered with the Cambodian judicial process.

The seven Thais, including ruling Democrat Party MP Panich Vikitsreth, were arrested in Cambodia Dec 29 for illegal entry and trespassing into a military area, charges that carry a maximum combined sentence of 18 months in prison.

Six of them however were released on bail and are staying at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

Mr Veera, a key activist of the "Yellow Shirt" movement, is the only one who remains detained at Prey Sar prison as he was additionally charged with espionage for attempting to gather information that could affect Cambodia's national defence, an offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail. (MCOT online news)

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