Bail Hearing for Thai Accused Of Spying Scheduled for Friday

Health reasons cited in request for release ahead of trial; court has finished investigation, lawyer says

Alleged Thai spy Siwarak Chuti­pong is scheduled to make a case for his bail on Friday afternoon, four days before the start of his Dec 8 trial, a Phnom Penh court official and Mr Siwarak’s defense lawyer said yesterday.

Mr Siwarak, 31, an engineer for Cambodia Air Traffic Services, was arrested on Nov 12 for alleg­edly passing former Thai Prime Minis­ter Thaksin Shinawatra’s flight details to a Thai Embassy official.

A three-judge panel will hear the bail request, lodged last week by defense lawyer Kao Soupha, who cited health concerns due to his cli­ent’s prolonged detention as grounds for the release, said Pre­siding Judge Ke Sakhorn, deputy director of the court.

“The hearing will be on the bail request,” Judge Sakhorn said, de­clining to talk about the evidence and possible decision that he would make. He also said he will preside over Mr Siwarak’s trial.

Mr Soupha said the court in­formed him yesterday of the bail hearing.

The court also inform­ed him that the investigation of his client finished a week after his Nov 12 arrest at his Phnom Penh home, Mr Soupha said.

“I hope the court will release my client on bail because the court’s in­vestigation has already been completed,” Mr Soupha said. Mr Si­warak is not a flight risk and will ap­pear at trial if released beforehand, he added.

Mr Soupha said last week that his client had not passed on any se­crets but had only informed a Thai Embassy official, five minutes after the fact, that Mr Thaksin’s flight had landed and had photocopied a document on the landing.

The scheduling of the bail hearing follows statements from Mr Thaksin’s legal adviser, who said Mr Thaksin is willing to request le­niency for Mr Siwarak if he is found guilty.


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