During meetings in Phnom Penh today, Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya will press for royal pardons for two Thai nationals convicted in 2003 for plotting to bomb the US and British embassies in Cambodia, according to Thai media reports.
The Nation and Bangkok Post newspapers reported Saturday that Kasit, who was scheduled to arrive in Phnom Penh on Sunday to meet with King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Sen today, will bring up the pardon requests during his visit.
Thai Muslims Abdul Azi Haji Chiming and Muhammad Yalaludin Mading and Cambodian Cham Muslim Sman Esma El were sentenced by the Phnom Penh court in 2004 to life in prison over the alleged plot by the Islamic militant group Jemaah Islamiyah. The Supreme Court upheld their convictions in March last year.
The Bangkok Post and The Nation cited Pisanu Suvanajata, Thai Foreign Affairs Ministry director-general for East Asian affairs, as having said that the Thai government has already requested pardons for the two Thai men and that Kasit will press for their release during his visit.
The five years the Thais have already spent behind bars is enough, Pisanu said, according to The Nation.
Cambodian Foreign Affairs spokesman Koy Kuong said by telephone Sunday that he was unaware of any such requests or plans to raise the issue of pardoning the two men.
“I am not sure of the requests,” he said, adding that more details of the foreign minister’s visit would be released at a news conference today.
Officials at the Thai Foreign Ministry in Bangkok could not be reached Sunday.
Kao Soupha, the defense attorney for the two Thai prisoners, called for their release Sunday and welcomed the reports of Kasit’s request.
“I am in 100 percent support of the request for their release. The release must apply to all of them not only the two Thais,” he said.