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.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • School reopening can’t wait

    With the Covid-19 pandemic now well into its second year, safely reopening schools has become an urgent priority. School attendance is critical for children’s education and lifetime prospects. The long-term costs of closures – both for individual children and society – are simply too large to

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of