Jailed Thai seeks help of Laos premier
Lawyers say there is no proof of crime
Lawyers of a Thai engineer who has been detained in a Lao detention centre for more than 13 months for causing about 1.7 million baht in damages to a Lao company's business have submitted a letter to Lao Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, asking him to provide justice to their client.
"We want him to be released from the detention centre as quickly as possible. He has been detained for more than 13 months. The one-year statutory period of his detention has now expired under Lao law,'' said Peerapat Thongteerasakul, a lawyer for Kittidet Latthi, 48.
Mr Peerapat submitted the letter to the Lao prime minister early last month and is waiting for a reply. His client denies all accusations.
"I am ready to meet him and explain the details," Mr Peerapat said.
He said that on Nov 5, he also met the Thai ambassador to Laos, asking him to help secure Mr Kittidet's freedom.
Lao police have been unable to provide the engineer's legal team with evidence to substantiate the charge, he said, and as a result, they have changed the charge to neglect of duty.
He said Lao police and prosecutors have not explained details of the new charge to Mr Kittidet's legal team.
Mr Peerapat said Lao police had asked prosecutors to indict his client on the charge but the case was thrown out due to insufficient evidence.
Mr Kittidet was arrested and detained last October in Vientiane. The investigation took over 10 months but Lao police have yet to provide any evidence to prove if Mr Kittidet did anything illegal, he said.
Mr Peerapat had appointed a Lao lawyer to act on his behalf in defending Mr Kittidet and provide him with legal advice.
Mr Peerapat earlier said that prosecutors had informed the Lao lawyer that the company Mr Kittidet worked for had issued a letter to them alleging he had caused 1.7 million baht in damages to the company's business.
They decided not to release him on these grounds.
Mr Kittidet was hired by the Lao company to work as an engineer in 2013.
He was arrested on Oct 20 last year at a Lao immigration checkpoint in Vientiane while travelling back to Thailand. He is now detained at Phon Tong detention centre in Vientiane.
Throughout the ordeal, Mr Kittidet's legal team has sought help from state organisations including the Royal Thai Embassy in Laos, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Prime Minister's Office, the Office of the Ombudsman and the Office of the Attorney-General.
His team sent another letter seeking the assistance of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Thailand to help Mr Kittidet.
They asked the commissioner to address Mr Kittidet's unfair detention and help enable his urgent release from the centre.
They also submitted a letter to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, asking the House committee on foreign affairs and another House committee on law and human rights to start a probe into the case.