Union Head Asks Thai King To Pardon All Cambodian Prisoners

Free Trade Union President Chea Mony wrote a letter to Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej last week requesting that he grant royal pardons to Cambodians currently serving prison terms in Thailand, pointing to Cambodia’s recent pardoning of a Thai man who was convicted of spying.

“[T]here are many Cambodian workers being detained in Thai­land’s prisons after Thai courts convicted them for entering to work in Thailand,” Mr Mony wrote in his letter to the Thai king dated Thursday.

“Please show the good heart of your majesty by granting pardon to those Cambodian workers who are being held in Thai prison, like how the King of the Kingdom of Cam­bodia [Norodom Sihamoni] has forgiven and granted a pardon to convicted Thai Siwarak Chotipong,” Mr Mony wrote.

Mr Mony was referring to the Dec 14 release of Mr Siwarak, an employee of the Thai-owned Cam­bodia Air Traffic Services, who had been convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court of spying and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Officials with the Thai Embassy could not be reached for comment yesterday, but on Thursday, a embassy staffer who declined to give his name said that the embassy had received Mr Mony’s letter.

In a speech on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen criticized Thai leaders for allegedly reneging on a prisoner exchange deal that saw the transfer of two Thai prisoners to Thailand, but was not followed by the return of two Cambodian women who are languishing on death row in Thai jails.

Cambodian Foreign Affairs Min­istry spokesman Koy Kuong said last week that Thailand and Cam­bodia signed the prison transfer deal on Aug 5.

Heng Hak, director general of the Interior Ministry’s general department of prisons, said on Friday that his department does not have statistics on how many Cambodians are currently jailed in Thailand. How­ever, he added, since the August agreement was signed, no prisoners have yet been transferred from Thailand to Cambodia.


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