Home > Local News > Let courts decide on ‘spy’: PM

Let courts decide on ‘spy’: PM

Prime Minister Hun Sen arrives at the University of Health Sciences for a
speech, in which he criticised Thai officials, yesterday in Phnom Penh. Photo by: Heng Chivoan
Prime Minister Hun Sen lashed out yesterday at the Thai leadership over
allegations that a Cambodian arrested in Thailand last week was a spy,
saying their rhetoric had shown disregard for judicial procedure.

Speaking
at a graduation ceremony of medical students in Phnom Penh, Hun Sen
said Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his foreign Minister,
Kasit Piromya, had repeated the claims against Ung Kimthai – a Cambodian
national arrested last week on suspicion of espionage.

“As long
as the court has not proceeded with its work, the person remains
innocent. The court has not yet worked on the case – why have you said
my people are guilty?” Hun Sen argued. “You are stupid, don’t do it.”

Ung
Kimthai, 46, was apprehended by Thai authorities on Tuesday last week
in Sisaket province, along with nationals from Vietnam and Thailand, on
allegations of espionage.

Allegations have also been raised against the Thai national for drunk driving and Ung Kimthai for drug use.

Hun
Sen also claimed yesterday that Kasit had expressed desire for a
prisoner exchange that could allow the return of two Thai activists who
are currently serving time at Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh for spying,
crossing illegally into Cambodia and entering into a military zone.

The premier dismissed talks of such a deal. “There is not any exchange,” Hun Sen said.

“Let the court do its work first – do you respect the independence of the court? You abused the court procedure.”

Thai
Patriot Network coordinator Veera Somkwamkid and his secretary, Ratree
Pipattanapaiboon, were sentenced to eight and six years, respectively,
in February.

Thai government spokesman Panitan Wattanayagorn said
yesterday that any questions about a possible prisoner exchange “assume
that the case reaches the court”.

He said Thai officials were concentrating on the preliminary stages of the legal process.

“After
the case is concluded by the police, they will forward it to the state
attorney and he will decide whether the case will be forwarded to the
court,” Panitan said. “The legal process has to be done first.”

He
mentioned, however, that there was a bilateral agreement in existance
between Thailand and Cambodia governing prisoner exchanges in cases that
are “similar”.

Panitan also said there had been an “ongoing
process of exchanging some of the prisoners in the past year or two”,
though he could not provide further detail.

 
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