Prosecutor Wins More Time to Consider Appeal Against Phuket’s Human Trafficking Reporters
A judge at Phuket Provincial Court has granted prosecutors another 30 days in which to consider an appeal in a long-running criminal defamation case against two Phuketwan journalists.
The extension gives the Phuket Prosecutor until December 30 to lodge an appeal against reporters Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison.
It’s the third extension of time following the judge’s dismissal on September 1 of all charges involving the journalists and Phuketwan’s parent company, Big Island Media.
A fourth extension could also be sought, a court official said today, as the deadline for an appeal under the second extension passed at 4pm.
”We placed our faith in Thailand’s justice system,” said Morison, 68. ”We believe the judge’s vertict was right and just.
”It’s a surprise to us that this case has not been concluded. The facts are plain.”
Morison recently received a Freedom Award from Anti-Slavery Australia for anti-trafficking reporting with Khun Chutima. He has also been nominated for next year’s Australian of the Year awards.
‘We have told the Royal Thai Navy that they will have to kill us to stop us reporting on human trafficking in Thailand,” Morison said. ”We have no plans to stop reporting on that issue.”
The pair have been at the forefront of exposing the evils of human trafficking in Thailand.
In 2009 the two journalists, working with Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper, revealed the inhumane ”pushbacks” of boatloads of Rohingya from Thailand.
The pair, charged with criminal defamation and computer crimes for reproduction of a paragraph from a Reuters series that soon after won a Pulitzer Prize, faced a maximum of seven years in jail.
They returned from a trip to Australia to fight the court battle against the Royal Thai Navy in the interests of pursuing human trafficking and media freedom in Thailand.
With industrial scale levels of trafficking exposed in May by international media, the Royal Thai Police conducted an investigation.
The probe was terminated after five months, the chief investigating officer later said, with many more arrests yet to be made.
Investigating police allege they were intimidated and threatened over the arrests of several military officers.
An international summit on transnational migration in the region is being held in Bangkok on Friday.
Thailand has invited Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia to participate with representatives from the United Nations, the United States, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, the European Union and NGOs.
Note: Changes have been made, PHUKET WAN is not responsible for these.
Source: PHUKET WAN