The Thai Embassy and the lawyer representing three men serving life sentences
for conspiring to commit acts of terrorism and of having links with the Islamic
group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) have written yet again to the Appeal Court asking it
to hear the case soon.
Cambodian Sman Esma El and Thais Abdul azi Haji Chiming and Muhammad Yalaludin Mading appealed in January 2005 against their life sentences and are still waiting to be heard.
Cambodian Cham Sman Esma El, 24, and Thai
citizens Abdul Azi Haji Chiming, 35, and Muhammad Yalaludin Mading, 41, were
found guilty of conspiring to commit terrorism and planning to bomb the British
and US embassies after a one-day trial on December 28, 2004.
been arrested in May 2003, along with a fourth defendant at the trial, Egyptian
Esam Mohamid Khadr Ali, director of the Saudi-funded Om Alqura Institute, who
was set free. Five other people were sentenced to life imprisonment in
On March 24 the lawyer for the three men, Kao Soupha, wrote a
third letter to Appeal Court president Ly Vuoch Leng urging the court to hear
the case as more than a year had passed since the men's
Soupha said the case is very important, especially as it
involved foreigners. "I think the Appeal Court should try the case soon," Soupha
said. "They would be released because they are innocent."
Chapatiyut, spokesman at the Thai embassy, said the Thai embassy similarly had
sent two letters through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation requesting the Appeal Court to take the case to trial, but had not
received a reply.
"The Thai embassy would like the Appeal Court to take
the case to trial soon," Chapatiyut said. "But we have to respect the judiciary
of Cambodia and I expect that everything will be done under court procedure.
What we can do is urge the Cambodian court to try the case soon."
Chapatiyut said an embassy official had visited the two convicted Thais
last week. He added that their wives had visited them several times since their
arrest and imprisonment.
Hanrot Raken, general prosecutor at the Appeal
Court, said he did not know what stage the case is in. He said the trial process
at the Appeal Court was slow because there were many cases and a lack of judges
He said around 2,000 civil and criminal cases come
before the Appeal Court every year.
Esma El's uncle, Math Yusos, said
Esma El's family believes he is not guilty, and is looking forward to the Appeal
"When we meet him at prison he always says he was not
involved with [JI] and asks us to believe him," Yusos said.
He said Prime
Minister Hun Sen's adviser, Om Yentieng, head of the government human rights
committee, had visited Esma El at the Provisional Jail last month and gave him