Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 04:13:49 -0500
Reply-To: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
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From: Alex G Bardsley <bardsley@ACCESS.DIGEX.NET>
Subject: Fwd: TH: Karens acquitted after 5 years (BKKPost)
To: Multiple recipients of list SEASIA-L <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
Hill tribes; plight of the long-neck Karens. Twenty-one get
freedom following court acquittal. Villagers cleared of spate of crimes
From the Bangkok Post
16 November 1997
A total of 21 Karen villagers walked free yesterday following a recent
court acquittal clearing them of crimes, including murder, armed
robbery and arson.
However, one of the inmates, a 16-year-old died in prison from typhoid
as he was being sent to hospital for treatment. They were cleared of
all charges after five years of detention.
The court, chaired by Anocha Chewitsophon, decided to free all the
suspects on the grounds that the prosecution could not supply evidence
to support the charges against them.
A total of 22 Karen villagers were arrested in November 1992 and
charged with murder, arson and armed robbery in connection with an
incident affecting a forest protection office in Mae Chan.
They were also accused of attacking a Border Patrol Police base in Mae
Chan and killing four police officers in the attack, and setting
government office buildings on fire.
All but one denied the charges levelled against them. One suspect
admitted to killing a villager but denied the rest of the charges.
The accquittal ruling came last month but the villagers were detained
after the prosecution lodged an appeal. They were freed yesterday
since the prosecution failed to submit evidence within the period of
Vinij Lamlue, one of the lawyers, said the villagers deserve
compensation for the five years they spent in jail and lost
"They deserve something on a humanitarian ground," he said.
© The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. All rights reserved 1997