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Message-ID: <199711160913.EAA01842@access4.digex.net>
Date: Sun, 16 Nov 1997 04:13:49 -0500
Reply-To: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
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>

X-URL: http://www.bangkokpost.net/today/1611_news10.html

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 limitation statute.

Vinij Lamlue, one of the lawyers, said the villagers deserve compensation for the five years they spent in jail and lost opportunities.

"They deserve something on a humanitarian ground," he said.

© The Post Publishing Public Co., Ltd. All rights reserved 1997

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