Boonsong urged to expose 'plotter'
Renowned legal expert Meechai Ruchuphan has advised former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom, who was sentenced to 42 years in jail, to speak out about the mastermind behind the corrupt rice deals if he wants to survive in an appeal.
Mr Meechai, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), said Boonsong can still fight the case through existing legal channels.
Boonsong and 16 others were found guilty by the Supreme Court last week in a case concerning fake government-to-government rice deals.
Under the new constitution, he can allow his lawyer to submit an appeal against the Supreme Court's ruling and lodge it at the general meeting of the Supreme Court within 30 days of the ruling.
"Anyone who really values their life must fight for it through any available channel. But if he [Boonsong] is worried about how it would affect others, then it is a case of martyrdom," Mr Meechai said.
He was responding to a message posted on Facebook by former Prime Minister's Office secretary-general Suranand Vejjajiva, expressing compassion for his close friend Boonsong.
In the post, Mr Suranand wrote about how after the 2014 coup, he asked Boonsong if he could "tell me how the story goes", saying he admired the spirit of his friend, who replied: "I can't talk about it."
He also asked Boonsong: "Who helps you handle these issues? They look scary." Boonsong said he had a "team".
Mr Meechai said although Boonsong is in custody and has been denied bail, he still has the right to appeal.
He said the judges must carefully consider granting bail. A few years ago, a judge was fired over granting bail to a defendant who jumped bail.
Meanwhile, Boonsong's lawyer yesterday visited his client at Klongprem Central Prison in Chatuchak district yesterday.
Narin Somnuek said his client was tense and suffered chronic sinus problems and allergies, adding he was not eating or sleeping well.
"Boonsong asked me to seek bail quickly," said Mr Narin, adding that he expects to petition the court to seek bail for his client today.
In a related development, the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases will rule today whether to accept a case in which state officials were accused of committing malfeasance by seizing assets from Boonsong's wife, Poyjairaphee.
Ms Poyjairaphee lodged the complaint against the Legal Execution Department and the Department of Foreign Trade, saying two of her bank accounts had been frozen.