Billy's wife asks OAG to revive case

Billy's wife asks OAG to revive case

The wife of Karen activist Porlajee "Billy" Rakchongcharoen on Thursday called on the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) to reverse the public prosecutors' decision to drop murder and other serious charges against four park officials suspected of collusion in her husband's death.

Pinnapa Prueksapan was accompanied by lawyer Waraporn Uthairangsi and dozens of Karen supporters when she arrived to file a petition with the OAG demanding indictments be brought against the four accused of being involved in the 2014 killing of Porlajee.

On Jan 23 prosecutors dropped the most serious charges including murder against Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, a former head of Kaeng Krachan National Park, Bunthaen Butsarakham, Thanaset Chaemthet, and Kritsanaphong Chitthet.

Mr Chaiwat, Mr Bunthaen and Mr Thanaset were indicted for dereliction of duty, while Mr Kritsanaphong was indicted for colluding to commit a crime.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) last year recommended that prosecutors press up to eight charges against the officials, including premeditated murder and concealing a corpse after skull fragments, which the DSI determined to be Porlajee's, were retrieved from Kaeng Krachan reservoir.

An OAG panel said there wasn't enough evidence to determine if the bone fragments belonged to Porlajee. As a consequence, there wasn't sufficient proof to link the suspects to the murder.

The DSI recently filed its disagreement with the prosecutors' decision insisting it had forensic evidence to challenge it.

Ms Waraporn said yesterday the petition made a five-point argument against the decision. She said the case had drawn wide public attention and involved a high-ranking state official, so the attorney-general should handle the case directly.

"This case is in the public interest and one of the suspects is a high-ranking state official. The attorney-general should be the one who makes the decision. This case is not just about justice for Billy's family. It means a lot to his ethnic community", she said.

Ms Pinnapa lodged the petition as the OAG hadn't reacted to the DSI's move.

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