THE Cambodian government has found a Thai lawyer to defend two Cambodian brothers, Chhil Tol and Chhil Launh, arrested by Thai authorities on Monday as they were cutting down trees along the border in Oddar Meanchey province’s O’Smach commune.
Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Thursday that the Cambodian consul-general in Thailand had hired Prassat Thaidy, a Thai lawyer of ethnic Khmer origin who speaks Khmer fluently, to defend the brothers.
The two are awaiting trial at Sisaket provincial court on charges of crossing the border without authorisation and illegal logging.
“We do not know yet when the Thai court will try the two Cambodian people, and the lawyer has not found out yet either how long they will be imprisoned,” Koy Kuong said.
Chhin Sivuth, director of the Oddar Meanchey provincial cabinet, said Cambodian border officials were negotiating with their Thai counterparts to seek the release of the two brothers, but noted that they had not seen any success as of Thursday.
According to a report released by local rights group Adhoc last month, at least 20 Cambodian civilians have been shot and killed by Thai soldiers in the border area over the past two years. Thai officials have denied the group’s allegations.