BANGKOK, Jan 31 - Two activists of a Thai nationalist movement released from a Cambodian jail recently filed a criminal lawsuit Monday against Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and other three ministers for causing the country to lose sovereignty with the highest punishment being the death penalty.
Thailand's Criminal Court in Bangkok accepted the cases on a preliminary basis for review and set the date of May 21 an 9.30am to announce whether it will accept the case.
2nd Lt Samdin Lertbutr and Tainae Mungmajon, two of the seven Thais charged with trespassing on Cambodian territory last month, went to the court with their lawyer to file the lawsuit in accordance with Articles 157, 119 and 120 against the premier, Deputy Prime Minister in Charge of Security Affairs Suthep Thaugsuban, Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.
The prime minister and the other ministers are accused respectively of dereliction of duty by causing the country to lose its sovereignty and of conspiring with other persons for the benefit of another state.
The suit is due to the fact that the Thai government did not take action when local villagers in the disputed area complained that Cambodians occupied Thai territory in Sa Kaeo province's Kok Soong district, specific landholdings which they claimed belongs to the Thai villagers. They accused the government of ignoring the claim and giving interviews to the benefit of Cambodia, which they charged the Khmer authorities can use against Thailand in the future.
In a related issue, Cambodian court will rule Tuesday on the case of the two Thais remaining in Cambodian custody, activist Veera Somkwamkid and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon.
Thai Patriots Network legal advisor Karun Sai-ngam will then meet Mr Veera and Ms Ratree. He said the existing evidence is inadequate to provide at the court due to the lack of clarity on the area on the seven Thais were detained.
He said he will discuss with Mr Veera in order to ask the Cambodian court to postpone the ruling until further clearer evidence. However, the decision will depend on Mr Veera.
Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry's Information Department Director General Thani Thongpakdi said the Cambodian court will hold an additional hearing Tuesday morning, and whether it will rule the case depends on the court. The ministry will await the result of the court's decision and stated that it is ready to assist Mr Veera and Ms Ratree like the other five recently released.
The seven Thais, including Democrat MP for Bangkok Panich Vikitsreth and Thai Patriots Network leader Veera Somkwamkid, were arrested by Cambodian soldiers Dec 29 on charges of entering Cambodia illegally and entering a Cambodian military-controlled area without permission as they inspected the border area in Sa Kaeo province. (MCOT online news)