Prosecutors mull Saudi case appeal

Attorneys are considering whether to take the case of the disappeared Saudi businessman to the Appeal Court after it was thrown out Monday by the Criminal Court.

 

Spokesman Nanthasak Poolsuk of the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) said Tuesday that public prosecutors in charge of the case will thoroughly study the Criminal Court's ruling along with other evidence before making the decision whether to continue the case at the higher court.

They have 30 days from Monday to launch an appeal. That was when the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court acquitted five former police officers accused of abducting and murdering Mohammad al-Ruwaili. The Saudi businessman disappeared on Feb 12, 1990, and is presumed dead.

The five included former police inspector-general Pol Lt Gen Somkid Boonthanom.

Saudi charge d’affaires Abdelelah Alsheaiby said after the ruling that the verdict was ‘’disappointing’’.

Caretaker Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said Tuesday the Saudi diplomat had contacted him for a meeting on the case but a date had not been set.

Mr Surapong conceded the court decision means there will be no improvement of ties between Bangkok and Riyadh. The acquittal, said Mr Surapong failed to satisfy family members of the missing Saudi businessman.

But he hoped that relations would not further deteriorate in the aftermath of the ruling.

Saudi Arabia downgraded ties with Thailand after the disappearance of al-Ruwaili and the earlier murders in Bangkok of three Saudi diplomats. Shortly before the Bangkok violence, a Thai servant stole jewellery including a famed Blue Diamond from the palace of a Saudi prince who later became king.

In retalition, Riyadh has so far expelled some 40,000 workers and banned all Thais from employment in Saudi Arabia, banned Saudis from visiting Thailand as tourists, cut trade to virtually nothing, and cut back diplomatic relations to bare bones.

 

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