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Thailand: Further Information on Fear of forcible return/Prisoner of Conscience/Health Concern, Sok Yoeun

, Index number: ASA 39/008/2002

Fears for the safety of refugee and prisoner of conscience Sok Yoeun have increased following a Thai court decision that he should be extradited to Cambodia. Sok Yoeun now has 15 days to appeal against the decision.

PUBLIC AI Index: ASA 39/008/2002
29 November 2002
Further information on UA 309/02 (ASA 39/007/2002, 17 October 2002) - Fear
of forcible return/Prisoner of Conscience/Health Concern
THAILAND
Sok Yoeun [m], aged over 50
_____________________________________________________
Fears for the safety of refugee and prisoner of conscience Sok Yoeun have
increased following a Thai court decision that he should be extradited to
Cambodia. Sok Yoeun now has 15 days to appeal against the decision.
At the final court hearing on 28 November, the presiding judge rejected that
the request for his extradition by the Cambodian authorities was based on
politically-motivated grounds. Amnesty International however, believes that
Sok Yoeun's case is politically-motivated, and should not fall within the
extradition agreement between Thailand and Cambodia, which does not allow for
the extradition of persons accused of political offenses.
Should Sok Yoeun be returned to Cambodia, he faces a prolonged period of
detention, unfair trial, and the possibility of incommunicado detention and
ill-treatment. Under international law, no state should return anyone to a
country where they will face serious human rights violations.
The judge also disregarded the fact that Sok Yoeun has been recognized as a
refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Sok Yoeun
has been accepted for resettlement in a third country, where his wife and
children have already been resettled as refugees.
Sok Yoeun was arrested on 24 December 1999 after a Thai politician complained
that Thailand was harbouring a Cambodian "terrorist". Two months earlier he
had been forced into making a videotape confession, after he was detained and
threatened by a Thai national. The Cambodian authorities have accused Sok Yoeun,
who is a member of a prominent Cambodian opposition party, the Sam Rainsy Party
(SRP), of being responsible for a 1998 rocket attack, which Prime Minister
Hun Sen claimed was aimed at him. This allegation is widely believed to be
unfounded.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals in English or in your own
language:
- expressing grave concern at the decision by a Thai court to extradite refugee
and prisoner of conscience Sok Yoeun to Cambodia;
- urging that he will not be returned to Cambodia, where he faces unfair trial,
possible incommunicado detention and ill-treatment on politically-motivated
charges for which there is no evidence;
- expressing concern for the health of Sok Yoeun, and calling for his immediate
and unconditional release from prison;
- expressing concern at his continued detention, despite the fact that he has
been recognized as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
(UNHCR);
- urging the authorities to allow him to join his family who have already been
resettled by the United Nations as refugees in a third country.
APPEALS TO (Please note that fax machines may be switched off outside office
hours - seven hours ahead of GMT):
2
Prime Minister
Thaksin Shinawatra
Office of the Prime Minister
Government House
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit
Bangkok 10300
Thailand
Telegrams: Prime Minister, Bangkok, Thailand
Faxes:+ 66 2 280 1443
Salutation:Dear Prime Minister
Minister of Interior
Wan Muhamad Noor Matha
Ministry of Interior
Asdang Road
Bangkok 10200
Thailand
Telegrams:Interior Minister, Bangkok, Thailand
Faxes:+ 66 2 226 4371
Salutation:Dear Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Surakiart Sathirathai
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Sri Ayudhya Road
Bangkok 10400
Thailand
Telegrams: Foreign Minister, Bangkok, Thailand
Faxes: + 66 2 643 5180
Salutation: Dear Foreign Minister
COPIES TO:
Chief Justice of the Criminal Court
The Criminal Court
Ratchadapisak Road
Jutujak
Bangkok 10900
Thailand
Faxes: + 66 2 541 2273
Salutation: Dear Chief Justice
and to diplomatic representatives of Thailand accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 10 January 2003.

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