31 Dec, 2010
BANGKOK, Dec 31 - The Phnom Penn Municipal Court has not set a date for the trial of seven Thais who were detained by Cambodian troops Wednesday as they inspected the border of Sa Kaeo province and Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province, according to Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Thani Thongphakdi.
The seven, including Democrat Party member of parliament Panich Vikitsreth, and members of the so-called 'Yellow Shirt' People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) protest movement, were charged by the Court with illegal entry and illegally entering a military base along the border, crimes carrying penalties of up to six months and one year, respectively.
Mr Thani, Director-General of the Department of Information, said that the Thai side must wait for the Court to set a date for trial and then file petitions seeking bail for them.
Until now, no date has been set by the Court, he said, adding that the visit of the detained Thais by their families could be done within one or two days even during the long New Year holiday as the request for visits had already been sent to the Cambodian authorities.
Mr Thani said that during his visit to the detained Thais on Dec 30 at Prey Sar prison on the outskirts of the capital, they all said they did not realise that they had crossed the border into Cambodian territory.
They asserted that none of them had intended to intentionally break the law but strayed into Cambodian territory by accident, the director-general said.
The prison had cooperated well and facilitated the Thai authorities to provide the Thais with food, he said, adding that the ministry has ordered Thai embassy officials in Phnom Penh to visit them every day.
Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Kasit Piromya on Thursday went to Phnom Penh in an attempt to secure their freedom, but he failed accomplish his mission.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva earlier said he had tasked Mr Panich with seeking information about the border issue. (MCOT online news)