Thai case against Aust journalist delayed
Alan Morison, originally from Melbourne and editor of online news website Phuketwan, along with Thai reporter, Chutima Sidasathian, were due to face the Phuket prosecutor on Monday and be formally charged.
But Morison told AAP the prosecutor’s office informed them Friday the hearing of the case was being delayed until next month.
“We actually (still) have to front down there (at the prosecutor’s) office on Monday at 9.30 but we’re not expecting the case to proceed because of this delay that the prosecutor now says is necessary until April,” he said.
The office did not clarify reasons for the delay.
“There was no reason given and there was no date set in April either,” Morison said.
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But AAP has learnt the charges against Morison and Chutima had also been raised by diplomatic sources at senior levels within the Thai government.
The Navy’s charges relate to a report in “Phuketwan” last year of a Reuter’s news story into alleged trafficking and other mistreatments against Muslim Rohingya who flee ongoing persecution in western Myanmar hoping to reach Malaysia or Indonesia.
The report alleged that members of the Thai security forces in the southern provinces were corruptly involved in the human trafficking of the Rohingya.
Morison and Chutima say they have been willing to go to jail over the prada handbags charges, which if convicted could face up to seven years jail.
Both journalists have received significant support from media outlets, the United Nations, as well as the US based Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch said on Friday the Thai Navy’s response to the reports prada handbags in the Phuketwan covering the Rohing prada handbags ya had been prada handbags “heavy handed”.
“We think that maybe the ‘roots’ finally seeped that this is quite a significant case; we hope so anyway,” he said.
“But we’re happier to have a delay than suddenly be forced to make the choice between bail or jail.”
“We just hope that some of the support and influence that has sprung up in Bangkok has actually seeped through to Phuket and they are getting the message,” he said.