January 19, 2011
The Lawyers Council of Cambodia has turned down a request to replace two Cambodian lawyers defending the seven Thais facing prosecution in Phnom Penh with Thai lawyers, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.
The request was made by legal advisors of Thailand Patriots Network (TPN), an aggressive nationalistic group to which some of the seven Thais belong to, according to Thani Thongphakdi, director-general of the ministry's Information Department.
Thani told reporters that this meant the seven Thais will continue to be defended in court by the two Cambodian lawyers hired by the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
He said the Cambodian lawyers planned to petition the Supreme Court in requesting bail for Veera Somkwamkid, a TPN leader who is the only Thai still being detained, after his request for bail had earlier been rejected by an appeal court.
The other six Thais, arrested by Cambodian soldiers on Dec. 29 for alleged illegal entry into the neighboring country, have been granted bail and are currently staying at the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.
Thani said his ministry was still unclear when the court will deliver its verdict on the seven Thais.
There have been reports speculating that the court will deliver its verdict on Feb. 1.