Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mother of sentenced Thai engineer will not appeal Cambodian court verdict

BANGKOK, Dec 8 (TNA) – The mother of the detained Thai engineer found guilty in a Cambodian court opted to not appeal the verdict, saying she will seek a royal pardon with the help of the opposition Puea Thai Party.

Speaking by phone from Phnom Penh to Puea Thai party headquarters after hearing the verdict, Simarak Na Nakhon Panom, mother of Siwarak Chutipong, the Thai national jailed for seven years and fined Bt 100,000 (US$3,000) on espionage charges, said she would not appeal the verdict out of concern that it would delay the court case.

Mr Siwarak was convicted of passing allegedly confidential flight information relating to ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s visit to Phnom Penh last month.

His mother said she would ask her lawyer to seek a royal pardon in an attempt to free her son as soon as possible. She also urged two former Thai prime ministers--Thaksin Shinawatra and Chavalit Yongchaiyudh--to help secure her son’s release.

"I decided to seek help from the opposition party for fear that obstacles may arise through Thai foreign ministry channels as the relations between the two countries are in trouble," said Mrs Simarak.

She reiterated that her son’s case should not be linked to political issues and called on Kamrob Palawatwichai, the then first secretary of the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh, to show his responsibility as he had asked her son to pass on the information.

The Cambodian court said the flight schedule of Mr Thaksin was considered confidential as Mr Thaksin was appointed an economic adviser of the Cambodian government by King Norodom Sihamoni.

As Mr Thaksin is a prominent figure, sharing information of his flight details to the Thai embassy is tantamount to sharing Cambodian confidential information to Thailand.

The six-hour trial called the defendant and four witnesses to testify, including two Cambodian colleagues of Mr Siwarak and two police officers. Mr Siwarak admitted he inform the Thai diplomat verbally but didn’t pass on copy of the flight schedule.

His two colleagues said the flight schedule was not important information, but should not be shared with persons outside the company.
Mr Siwarak’s lawyer argued the flight information is not confidential and anyone in the company can view it and Siwarak didn’t know Thaksin was aboard that plane. The only thing he knew was that a VIP was on the plane.

Moreover, Cambodian media had earlier reported Mr Thaksin’s arrival.

Thai and Cambodian relations were downgraded after Cambodia appointed Mr Thaksin as an economic adviser and refused to extradite him to Thailand. enewsMr Thaksin was sentenced in absentia to two years in prison for violating a conflict-of-interest law. (TNA)

Political News : Last Update : 19:49:49 8 December 2009 (GMT+7:00)

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