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Missing cop acquitted in Somchai case

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The Court of Appeal has acquitted a police officer accused of involvement in the disappearance of prominent Muslim human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit in 2004. 

The court, in a ruling issued on Friday, said eyewitness accounts were inconclusive and there was no clear evidence to link Ngern Thongsuk to Somchai's disappearance.

Somchai, the chairman of the Thailand Muslim Lawyers Association, was 53 at the time of his disappearance. He was last seen in Bangkok.

He was well known for representing clients accused of insurgency-related violence in the far South.

In 2006, the Criminal Court convicted Ngern of assaulting Somchai and sentenced him to three years in jail.

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