Two former military officers have each been sentenced to a total of 27 years imprisonment for colluding with a transnational criminal syndicate and trafficking in Rohingya people.
Ratchadapisek Criminal Court heard that the investigation that implicated the two defendants took place after Thai authorities discovered mass graves of Rohingya ethnics at alleged trafficking camps in the Thai-Malaysia border area early 2015.
Former Colonel Nattasit Maksuwan, ex-deputy chief of the Internal Security Operations Command in Satun province, and former Commander Kampanart Sangthongjeen, ex-officer under the 3rd Naval Area Command, were jailed.
They were found guilty of conspiring with others, from January 2011 to May 2015, in a human trafficking ring that preyed on Rohingya people who tried to migrate from Myanmar and Bangladesh to other predominantly Muslim countries, such as Malaysia.
Although both men denied the charges, the court doubled their punishments in the two charges due to their official government positions.
Each defendant was given an eight-year jail term for colluding in a transnational crime syndicate. On the charge of conspiring with more than three people in human trafficking, each defendant was imprisoned for 12 years.
Combined with the six-year jail term on the charge of conspiring with more than two state officials in human trafficking and the one-year jail term for illegally harbouring a foreigner, each defendant is to serve a total of 27 years. They were also ordered to pay compensation to the victims in this lawsuit.
Their lawyers said they would post bail for the two men and would appeal the sentence to the higher court.