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Plea for emergency trial in Billy case rejected by court

Sep 02. 2015
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By Anan Khongcharoen
The Nation

THE SUPREME Court yesterday dismissed a petition to hold an emergency trial to find Karen human-rights activist Porlajee "Billy" Rakchongcharoen, who disappeared in April 2014.
The court reasoned that evidence proving that Billy is being detained was insufficient. Billy’s wife Pinnapa Prueksaphan filed this petition, but two previous courts also dismissed her request for the same reason. 
Meanwhile, Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, former chief of the Kaeng Krachan National Park who was accused of being involved in Billy’s disappearance, said after the ruling yesterday that he would take legal action against a group of people for defamation. 
Chaiwat claimed that his environment protection work had affected this group, and hence they were trying to drive him out of the area. He believes that these people may even have fabricated false evidence to frame him. 
On April 17, 2014, Chaiwat and three other park officials arrested Billy for alleged illegal possession of a wild honeycomb and six bottles of wild honey, but they insist that he was released later and that they played no part in his disappearance. 
Angkhana Nilapaichit, a human rights advocate who is reportedly poised to become a member of the National Human Right Commission, said she regretted the court’s decision to not call for more witnesses. However, she still maintains hope that police investigation into this case is being conducted in accordance with the criminal code, and believes the Department of Special Investigation will take up Billy’s case as requested by Pinnapa earlier this month. 

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