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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        11 January 2011

Hun Sen firm on Thai intruders

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Prime Minister Hun Sen said Sunday that a Thai parliamentarian and six other Thais arrested on trespassing charges will have to serve at least two-thirds of their jail sentences if convicted, as additional charges were announced against two of the detainees.

A group of Thais including Panich Vikitsreth, a lawmaker from Thailand's ruling Democrat Party, were arrested in Banteay Meanchey province last month and charged with illegal entry and unlawfully entering a military base, charges that carry a combined maximum sentence of 18 months in prison.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony in Phnom Penh, the premier said neither the government nor any other organisation could intervene the case.

"Intervention from all corners, including the United Nations, is impossible," Hun Sen said.

"We will talk about this further when the court has completed its procedure, but the law is the law, the court is the court, and the government cannot influence or order the court to do this or that for a political compromise."

He added: "After they are convicted, they have 30 days to make an appeal, and after the conviction is effective, they have to serve two thirds of their sentences before we consider whether there is a pardon or not. What I am saying is based on the law."

Under Cambodian law, prisoners are eligible for pardons after serving two-thirds of their jail sentences. In 2009, however, the government released a Thai national sentenced to seven years in prison on espionage charges just days after his conviction.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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