Lawyers, families prevented from jail visits with former ministers
The Bangkok Remand Prison on Saturday morning rejected visit requests by lawyers and families of former commerce minister Boonsong Teriyapirom and former deputy commerce minister Phumi Saraphol.
Boonsong’s relatives joined his lawyer Narin Somnuek and Phumi’s daughter in an early-morning visit to the prison.
Relatives of Akarapong Chuaykiang, the also-jailed former secretary of Department of Foreign Trade came with them.
But all were told that they would have to wait until Monday before they would be allowed to visit the three prisoners.
On Friday, Boonsong was handed a 42-year sentence, while Phumi Saraphol was given a 36-year jail term, for approving four bogus government-to-government rice export deals with China which cost the treasury massive losses.
Akarapong was jailed 34 years.
Narin declined to tell reporters details of his plan to seek Boonsong’s release on bail.
Phumi’s daughter said she had concerns about her father’s living conditions, given that he suffers from several chronic ailments and requires medicine regularly.
She admitted that it could be difficult to seek his release on bail because of the sentence’s harshness, and because former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra jumped bail on Friday and fled abroad rather than appearing at the Supreme Court for the verdict reading of her case.
Krit Krasaethip, chief of the Bangkok Remand Prison, told Nation TV in a phone interview that nobody would be allowed to visit the inmates on Saturday. They could be visited on Monday.
Krit said it would be normal for Boonsong and other new inmates to be stressed on their first night in jail but there is nothing to be worried about. He said those who have chronic ailments could have their own medicine.
Krit said Boonsong and other inmates convicted over the government-go-government rice deal would be detained at the Bangkok Remand Prison for a few days before being sent to the Klong Prem Maximum Security Prison where those with jail terms exceeding 15 years are detained.