ASEAN Chairman,Kasit meddling in Cambodia internal security
By Supalak Ganjanakhundee
January 24, 2009
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya will seek royal pardons for two religious teachers who were jailed for life in Cambodia on terrorist charges.
Muhammad Yalaluding and Abdul Azi Haji Chiming, both from Yala province, received life sentences in December 2003 on charges of helping the regional terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) plot a terrorist attack in Cambodia.
Kasit will meet the two teachers with their families during a visit to Phnom Penh tomorrow and Monday, said Foreign Ministry deputy directorgeneral for East Asian Affairs Pisanu Suvanajata.
The Thai embassy in Phnom Penh has already requested a pardon from Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihamoni, but it will take time, he said.
They were arrested in May 2003 with Egyptian Esam Mohammed Khidr Ali, who was acquitted of the same charge due to lack of evidence.
Cambodian law allows a pardon when prisoners have served more than onethird of their jail terms.
The five years they have served is long enough for this, Pisanu said. Thailand cannot request prisoner transfer since Bangkok has no agreement on this with Cambodia, he said.
The men were arrested after Singaporean JI operative Arifin bin Ali, who was arrested in Bangkok in May 2003, alleged that they were members of the terror group and had helped plan an attack. The same allegation by Arifin led to the arrest of four Thai Muslims in Thailand, including wellknown physician Waemahadi Waedao. The four were later acquitted of plotting attacks on Bangkok embassies.