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Morison and Khun Chutima outside Royal Thai Navy HQ in Bangkok

Prosecutor Wins More Time to Consider Appeal

Monday, November 30, 2015
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

A hand-written notation from the judge says that the third extension of time in which to appeal the Phuketwan case will be the final extension, according to a copy of a Phuket Provincial Court document obtained on Tuesday, December 1.

Original Report

PHUKET: A judge at Phuket Provincial Court has granted prosecutors another 30 days in which to consider an appeal in a long-running criminal defamation case against two Phuketwan journalists.

The extension gives the Phuket Prosecutor until December 30 to lodge an appeal against reporters Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison.

It's the third extension of time following the judge's dismissal on September 1 of all charges involving the journalists and Phuketwan's parent company, Big Island Media.

A fourth extension could also be sought, a court official said today, as the deadline for an appeal under the second extension passed at 4pm.

''We placed our faith in Thailand's justice system,'' said Morison, 68. ''We believe the judge's vertict was right and just.

''It's a surprise to us that this case has not been concluded. The facts are plain.''

Morison recently received a Freedom Award from Anti-Slavery Australia for anti-trafficking reporting with Khun Chutima. He has also been nominated for next year's Australian of the Year awards.

'We have told the Royal Thai Navy that they will have to kill us to stop us reporting on human trafficking in Thailand,'' Morison said. ''We have no plans to stop reporting on that issue.''

The pair have been at the forefront of exposing the evils of human trafficking in Thailand.

In 2009 the two journalists, working with Hong Kong's South China Morning Post newspaper, revealed the inhumane ''pushbacks'' of boatloads of Rohingya from Thailand.

In 2013, Phuketwan reported that following killings and the torching of villages in Myanmar (Burma), Rohingya women and children were taking to the boats with their men for the first time.

Phuketwan documented the horrors of Thailand's secret jungle trafficking camps, the burial of captive dead and the rape of Rohingya women long before the discovery of mass graves along the Thai-Malaysia border in May this year exposed the issue to unprecedented global media interest.

Morison and Khun Chutima also recorded the expansion of human trafficking into a much larger ''business'' in Thailand, with trawlers being specially adapted to carry hundreds of people.

Often the human cargoes included young men lured and kidnapped in Bangladesh, along with Rohingya families fleeing ethnic cleansing. Few arrests were ever made.

The pair, charged with criminal defamation and computer crimes for reproduction of a paragraph from a Reuters series that soon after won a Pulitzer Prize, faced a maximum of seven years in jail.

They returned from a trip to Australia to fight the court battle against the Royal Thai Navy in the interests of pursuing human trafficking and media freedom in Thailand.

With industrial scale levels of trafficking exposed in May by international media, the Royal Thai Police conducted an investigation.

The probe was terminated after five months, the chief investigating officer later said, with many more arrests yet to be made.

Investigating police allege they were intimidated and threatened over the arrests of several military officers.

An international summit on transnational migration in the region is being held in Bangkok on Friday.

Thailand has invited Bangladesh, Myanmar, Indonesia and Malaysia to participate with representatives from the United Nations, the United States, Australia, Japan, Switzerland, the European Union and NGOs.

The flow of boats from Myanmar appears to have halted because of hope that the newly elected government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, will end the genocide of the stateless Muslim minority.

WATCH Thailand's Moment of Truth - Dateline
The Dateline documentary team from SBS Australia shared the three-day trial of Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian with participants for a show full of revealing insights.

WATCH Shallow Graves - Channel News Asia
How a good cop helped Thailand turned the tables on trafficking, a nightmare that may not yet be over.

WATCH Al Jazeera Investigates - Genocide Agenda
A frightening look at what's happening in Myanmar (Burma) where documents reveal a plan to exterminate all Rohingya.

WATCH Journey into Hell - Four Corners
From Burma through Thailand, an award-winning current affairs team traces official complicity in the brutal treatment of the Rohingya and Phuketwan's part in its exposure.

WATCH How Trafficking Works
Phuketwan Investigative reporter Chutima Sidasathian says of traficking in 2014: ''It's worse and worse, day by day. Nobody cares''.

LISTEN The Rohingya Solution
A tragedy almost beyond words has been unfolding in Thailand, where a human smuggling network is thriving with the full knowledge of some corrupt law enforcement officers. Alan Morison of Phuketwan talks to Australia's AM program.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Dear Ed

Did the court official say or indicate that the prosecutor may keep seeking extensions indefinitely?

Do you know of situations in Thailand where extensions for appeals have dragged on for a prolonged period of time?

Posted by Ian Yarwood on December 1, 2015 09:24

Editor Comment:

We think four extensions is the limit. Our knowledge of other cases is thin.



Posted by Kurt on December 1, 2015 09:52

Editor Comment:

Your guesswork is wild and unwelcome.


Don't let the brigadiers get you down ! You're both a credit to humanity.

Why would they even want to extend it ? After the judge threw out everything as pure nonsense and the prosecution didn't even bother turning up after a day or two ??? You'd have thought they'd have lost enough face.

(Mind you, with the chief police investigating officer being stopped and sent back into the hands of the people he was 'supposed' to arrest and US brands all realising that they've been buying 'suspiciously caught' seafood for who knows how long ... I'd be considering reaching for my passport ...).

Posted by James on December 1, 2015 10:06


Why do they keep asking for an extension?
The answer is easy. To annoy and not allow people closure to get on with life.

Posted by MoW on December 1, 2015 13:36

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