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Appeal date pushed back for Thai spies

Appeal date pushed back for Thai spies

111025_03
Thai Yellow Shirt activist Veera Somkwamkid is escorted to Phnom Penh Municipal Court in January.

The Court of Appeal yesterday postponed the hearing of convicted Thai spies Veera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipapatanapaiboon due to their lack of defence lawyers and Thai interpreters.

Samrith Sophal, a judge at the Court of Appeal, said that the duo’s appeal hearing, which was set to open yesterday, has been postponed to November 28.

“Their case is criminal and [they] must have lawyers to defend them for their hearing. Due to their lack of defence lawyers and interpreters, it is decided to postpone their appeal hearing to November 28,” he told reporters yesterday at the Court of Appeal.

Veera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipapatanapaiboon were not present at the court hearing yesterday. They could not be reached by the Post for comments.

Thai Foreign Affairs spokesman Thani Thongpakdee said the defendants are looking after their own defence and declined to comment further.

Pich Vicheka, a former defence lawyer for the two, said that he was not aware of their appeal hearing because he had not been hired to defend them for their appeal.

“I am now no longer involved with their cases,” he said. “I could not comment about their appeal.”  

Chiv Song Hak, president of the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia, said that if the two convicted spies are unable to pay for their defence and cannot find lawyers, they can request that the court ask for lawyers from his association.  

Veera and Ratree – sentenced to eight and six years in jail, respectively – were arrested by Cambodian authorities on December 28, 2010, along with other five Thai nationals after illegally crossing into Cambodia near O’Bei Chean Village in Banteay Meanchey province.

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