Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia mulls Thai junta’s request for three extraditions

Cambodia mulls Thai junta’s request for three extraditions

A supporter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej holds a picture bearing his image. Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP
A supporter of King Bhumibol Adulyadej holds a picture bearing his image. Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP

Cambodia mulls Thai junta’s request for three extraditions

Cambodian authorities are “processing” a request from Thailand’s military government to extradite three Thai citizens for the crime of insulting the monarchy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday.

A number of extradition requests – 19 in total – have been made to seven countries for suspects of the widely condemned lese majeste laws in the wake of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s death.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Chum Sounry yesterday confirmed the government had received a request to extradite three Thai nationals who had fled into Cambodia “for insulting the Thai monarchy”.

“Now the competent authorities are processing this request, so it is not the right time to issue detailed information,” Sounry said, remaining tight-lipped on the details of the alleged offences of the three people.

When asked if Cambodia would facilitate the extradition, Sounry declined to give a definitive answer but highlighted the extradition treaty signed by Thailand and Cambodia in 2001. “The two countries have an extradition treaty, and the Cambodian authorities are considering the request,” he said.

However, the treaty outlines that an extraditable offence is one that carries a jail term under the laws of both countries. Insulting a king is not a criminal offence under Cambodia’s Penal Code, legal expert Sok Sam Oeun confirmed.

“Insulting the king, it’s not a crime in Cambodia,” he said.

While he said he was not familiar with the treaty, Sam Oeun added the extradition requirement was also enshrined in Cambodia’s Criminal Procedure Code. “We can’t extradite any accused unless both sides have an act saying it is a crime, according to the Criminal Code,” he said.

“If it is not a crime in Cambodia, we cannot send those people [to Thailand].”

Diplomatic missions in Cambodia and Thailand could not be reached for comment late yesterday, but the Bangkok Post reported Thailand had also requested cooperation in extraditing lese majeste suspects from the United States, France, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.

According to the Bangkok Post, Thai Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya said he had received a “positive response” from the ambassadors he had approached, but they still “had a problem regarding international law”.

Insulting or defaming the monarchy can include comments made on social media about the royal family – such as a baffling case of a man making a “sarcastic” comment about the late king’s dog – and can carry a 15-year prison sentence.

Academics and observers internationally have condemned the laws, which are often used by the military junta to bolster its legitimacy.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all