Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Foreign Ministry: No confirmation on Cambodian border case trial date

via CAAI

BANGKOK, Jan 19 - There is no official confirmation available after Bangkok media reported Cambodia's Appeal Court is set to give a verdict February 1 on a case in which seven Thais charged for trespassing on Cambodian territory, a Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

Thani Thongpakdi, the ministry spokesman, said the ministry so far has not yet received official confirmation of a trial date.

A team of Thai physicians led by Consular Affairs Deparment's Deputy Director-General Madurapochana Ittarong have visited all six Thai detainees released on bail at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh and all are in good health, with one having caught a cold, he said.

Regarding a move of the Thai Patriots Network which has offered to act as a lawyer for any of the seven who might need, Mr Thani said the Cambodian Lawyers Council objected to the move. Therefore only a Cambodian lawyer is allowed to represent them in fighting the case, Mr Thani said, noting that no one among the seven asked for a change of lawyer and some of them have simply asked to have a Thai lawyer to join their Cambodian counsel.

The ministry spokesman made his remarks after Karun Saingam and Nattaporn Toprayoon of the Thai Patriots Network, a an ultra-nationalist movement, visited all six Thai nationals released on bail at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh and offered them legal assistance to fight their case, including Veera Somkwamkid, the only one still being held at Prey Sar prison.

Mr Veera is leader of the network, and he was denied bail.

Mr Veera, also a key activist of the "Yellow Shirt" movement, was additionally charged with espionage for attempting to gather information that could affect national defence, an offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

The Thai foreign ministry spokesman said the ministry is willing to provide any necessary help whatever decision Mr Veera might take whether or not to file an appeal for bail at the Supreme Court.

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

Meanwhile, the Thai Patriots Network supporters issued a statement denouncing the police for using unnecessary force during the arrest of two of their leading members--Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Somboon Thongburan--for their alleged roles in 2008 airport seizures by the Yellow Shirt movement or the People's Alliance for Democracy.

The arrest took place shortly after Mr Chaiwat and Mr Somboon led supporters in presenting a petition to the king asking for his help for the seven Thais.

The network supporters vowed to prolong their protest at Government House and to join forces with their arch rivals, the Red Shirt movement, to fight for what they called a common cause in winning back the contested territory along Thai-Cambodian border.

The network however agreed to a police request to unblock two lanes of the road near Government House for traffic during rush hour in the morning and evening from Thursday onward. (MCOT online news)

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