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Thais slash jail terms for 16 Cambodians

A THAI court has halved the jail terms of 16 Cambodians convicted of entering Thailand illegally to destroy forests a year ago, the foreign ministry said.

The 16 loggers, from Preah Vihear and Oddar Meanchey provinces, were arrested in July last year after entering Thai territory to cut down trees.

In September, a court in Ubon Rachathani province sentenced 15 members of the group to nine years and three months in jail, and a 16th man – 18-year-old San Kros – received a lesser sentence of six years and two months.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said Ubon Rachathani provincial appeal court ruled yesterday that the 15 would have their sentences slashed to four years and nine months, and that San Kros would serve only three years and two months.

“Of course, our purpose is for them to be released, but we see that the appeal court gave them more justice than the lower court,” Koy Kuong said. “Our consular officials in Thailand and lawyers are in discussion to find a way for their release so that they can return home.”

He said consular officials based in Sa Kaeo province have not yet decided whether to file an appeal to the Supreme Court, since Thailand often reduces the jail terms of prisoners if they behave well in custody.

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