Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thailand says fugutive interior minister extradition possible form Cambodia

Attorney-General says extradition from Cambodia, Britain possible

BANGKOK, Aug 20 (TNA) -- Fugitive former Thai deputy interior minister Vatana Asavahame who jumped bail and is believed to be in hiding in Cambodia could be brought back to Thailand to serve a jail sentence, a senior official said Wednesday.

Sirisak Tiyapan, executive director of the Office of the Attorney-General's international affairs department, said the extradition treaty between Thailand and neighbouring Cambodia came into force on May 6, 1998 so it is possible to request Cambodia to send Mr. Vatana back to Thailand and serve his jail sentence.

On Monday, Thailand's Supreme Court Criminal Division for Political Office Holders sentenced Mr. Vatana for his involvement in a corruption case related to a wastewater treatment project to 10 years imprisonment.

The court in early July impounded bail amounting to Bt2 million (US$600,000) which Mr. Vatana had posted earlier as he failed to appear in court. It also issued an arrest warrant for him.

The judges on Monday voted eight to one charging that Mr. Vatana was guilty and sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment. A golden Buddha amulet which he had put up as bail earlier was also forfeited.

As Mr. Vattana is not now living in Thailand, the court then announced the extension of the statute of limitations to 15 years.

Thailand's deputy national police chief Pol.Gen. Jongrak Juthanond told the court earlier that police investigators found that Mr. Vatana had fled Thailand before the warrant was issued and that he was believed to be living in Cambodia.

Touching on extraditing ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife who also jumped bail and are now living in Britain, Mr. Sirisak said Thailand and Britain also have an extradition treaty which was last revised earlier this year.

Prosecutors are now gathering more evidence and documents which must be used in the extradition request for Mr. Thaksin.

Arrest warrants were also issued for the couple after they failed to appear in court on August 11 relating to the Bangkok's Ratchadapisek land purchase scandal. (TNA)

Political News : Last Update : 17:57:37 20 August 2008 (GMT+7:00)

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