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Thais ignoring prisoner-swap deal: Hun Sen

Thais ignoring prisoner-swap deal: Hun Sen

PRIME Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday accused Thailand of flouting a prisoner-exchange agreement in which four Cambodian inmates condemned to death in the neighbouring country were set to come back to the Kingdom.

In the midst of a lengthy tirade against the government of Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at the National Institute of Education, Hun Sen said his counterpart had yet to make good on a deal brokered in June, when Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban visited Phnom Penh.

“Abhisit asked me to exchange prisoners, and I agreed with him,” Hun Sen said. “We agreed that the two Thai prisoners would serve their jail term in Thailand and the … Cambodian … prisoners would be jailed in Cambodia.”

The four had been convicted of drug smuggling, the premier said.

In a statement released Thursday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government listed the names of the four Cambodians who are facing capital punishment in Thailand: Bunthuon Buntheoun, Bun Sorn, Sem Kay and Sumyud Bou Lay.

The Thai prisoners incarcerated in Cambodia – Abdul Azi Haji Chiming and Muhammad Yalaludin Mading – are serving life terms for terrorism after being convicted of involvement a bomb plot on Western embassies in Phnom Penh in 2003.

The men are said to have ties with the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group, which claimed responsibility for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed more than 200 people.

In its statement, sent to the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Thai Embassy in Bangkok, the government proposed that the prisoner exchange take place at the countries’ respective embassies “preferably during this week”.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said Thai officials had been duplicitous in their handling of the agreement.

“This is a bad trick of Abhisit not to respect the agreement,” Koy Kuong said. “He signed it with his hand but erased it with his leg.”

Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said Thursday that he had yet to receive any information on the matter.

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