Myanmar releases 53 Thai prisoners from Insein prison

BANGKOK (TNA) - More than 50 Thai prisoners were released from Myanmar's Insein prison and flown back to Thailand today, according to a statement released today by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The ministry's statement said an official at the Royal Thai Embassy in Yangon helped facilitate the repatriation of the 53 prisoners from the notorious prison in Insein, a suburb of the Myanmar capital.

They were flown back to their homeland by Thai Airways International flight TG 304 this morning.

There was no official announcement of the release by the military junta in Yangon.

In the past Thai prisoners held in Myanmar jails were held mainly on charges of illegally encroaching on the Myanmar territory for fishing or logging.

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    Hmong Man Found Guilty in Hunter Deaths

    HAYWARD, Wis. - A jury convicted an Asian immigrant of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of six deer hunters, rejecting his claims that he fired in self-defense after being shot at and taunted by racial slurs.

    Chai Soua Vang, an ethnic Hmong who came to this country from Southeast Asia more than 20 years ago, faces mandatory life in prison. Wisconsin does not have a death penalty.

    Jurors deliberated about three hours before convicting Vang on six counts of first-degree intentional homicide and three counts of attempted homicide. In addition to the six dead, two hunters were wounded in the shootings Nov. 21 that began when the group of hunters confronted Vang for being on private land.

    Vang, 36, dressed in a business suit with family members seated behind him, showed no visible emotion as the judge read the verdict.

    The slayings occurred during the state's beloved deer hunting season and exposed racial tension between the predominantly white north woods residents and immigrants from the Hmong ethnic group.

    Outside court, Vang's sister questioned the jury's makeup.

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    Guantanamo hunger strikers hospitalised

    Three more detainees have been taken to hospital after refusing meals at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

    This brings to 21 the number being treated from a hunger strike that involves a quarter of the camp's prisoners, an official said.

    In Australia, David McLeod, a lawyer for Adelaide-born Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks, said his client was not among the hunger strikers.

    All 21 detainees were being tube-fed through their nose, up from 13 a day ago, said Sergeant Justin Behrens, a spokesman at Guantanamo.

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  • Hunger strike ends but Amnesty remains concerned

    Thai woman jailed in Singapore

    Earlier this week, Foreign Prisoner Support Services received a letter from 'Rork' a foreigner working in Singapore, alerting us to the recent arrest of his good friend, Miss Wandee Muangngam, a Thai National now serving an eight month sentence in Singapore's Changi Women's Prison.

    Wandee's story is an all too familiar one that many young Thai women fall victim too. Wandee arrived in Singapore as a sex worker which in Thailand, is a common occupation for young women in the poorest economic situation. Being the eldest in her family, Wandee was simply trying the only way she knew how, to earn enough money to feed herself and save some money for her son, parents, and siblings.

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  • FACTS on Commercial Sex Workers and WHY?

    Australia criticises Asia's war on drugs

    Australia has told Asian countries that tough tactics in their war on drugs have accelerated the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region.

    The warning came during a two-day seminar of senior police officers from 12 Asian nations at the Thai seaside resort of Hua Hin.

    Australian officials said Asian countries should pursue alternative harm reduction programs, such as needle and syringe exchanges as well as voluntary rehabilitation.

    Many officers at the conference came from nations that punish drug offenders and traffickers with long prison terms or the death penalty.

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    American woman on charges in HK

    HONG KONG (AP) - A Hong Kong jury Thursday convicted an American woman of murdering her wealthy investment banker husband by drugging him with a milkshake laced with sedatives and beating him to death in their luxury apartment.

    Nancy Kissel - dressed in black, as she has been throughout the sensational trial - was expressionless as the seven-member jury returned the verdict in the November 2003 death of her husband, Robert, of New York.

    She received a mandatory life sentence. Defence lawyer Alexander King, who argued that his client killed her husband in self-defence and was the victim of abusive sex, refused to say whether she would appeal.

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    Jail cut crummy, says ex-detainee

    IF Schapelle Corby’s prison sentence is reduced it will do little to ease the Gold Coast woman’s burden, says prisoners’ rights advocate Kay Danes.

    "It’s crumbs, isn’t it? Ten years is crumbs off a plate," said Ms Danes, who was on the Gold Coast yesterday. "If you have strapped drugs to your body, you’ve got to accept your fate. "But I have honestly looked into Schapelle’s eyes with an open mind and I really believe she should not be there. "She didn’t do it."

    Ms Danes recently visited Ms Corby at Kerobokan prison, having endured a similar experience herself. Five years ago, the Laotian Government took hostage, tortured and then imprisoned Kay and her husband Kerry. The couple were accused of stealing gemstones but the Danes maintained their innocence throughout the ordeal and were brought home 10 months later.

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    B.C. teacher may face death penalty in Taiwan

    A Canadian teacher is facing the death penalty in Taiwan after being arrested for allegedly smuggling and trafficking cocaine.

    Twenty-eight-year-old Mathieu Forand, from Port Moody, B.C., was arrested Friday night and jailed.

    He was allegedly found with cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana.

    Friends in Taiwan say the English teacher was throwing a party in his home in the Neihu district of Taipei at the time of the raid, reports the The Vancouver Province newspaper.

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    Inside Thailand's Bangkwang Prison

    Hello, my name is Martin Garnett. I'm an Australian serving a 26 year and 9 month prison sentence in Thailand for drug trafficking. I'm held under the name of Mitchell Ian Blake and I've been here since 1993.

    I have been indicted by a grand jury in America for allegedly running a heroin ring from inside Thailand's Bangkwang maximum security prison (case number 2:02-CR-00034-(01)-RM, United States District court Northern District of Indianna, Hammond Division).

    There are three people named on the indictment. Myself and 2 Thai nationals. One Thai man Paisit Bencharit and one Thai lady Sawanee Sriprasarn. The Thai man was a prisoner in Bangkwang prison but was RELEASED on May the 5th 2005, despite being subject to the same American arrest warrant and extradition order that are being used to prosecute me. The Thai lady named in the indictment has never been arrested.

    Because of the extradition request I have been unable to transfer to Australia under the prisoner exchange treaty (between Thailand and Australia) even though Australia has approved my transfer.

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    SA teacher will not face death penalty

    ADELAIDE teacher Graham Payne is playing chess with Indonesian police who confirm he will not face charges carrying the death penalty.

    After meeting with a lawyer for the first time yesterday afternoon, Payne was shifted to a cell adjacent to the Medan drug squad's dispatch desk, where the keen chess player enjoyed a game with a drug squad officer.

    Payne, who has refused interview requests, is understood to be planning to issue an apology to Australians for any offence his predicament has caused.

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  • Australians facing the heat
  • Howard blasts Aussies carrying drugs
  • Australia warns citizens it cannot help them beat Asian drug charges
  • Govt confirms drug arrest
  • Australian model arrested for drugs on Bali

    Courts closing in on Bali Nine

    THE Bali Nine drugs accused were summonsed before the island's prosecutor yesterday in a significant step towards trials which could put them before a firing squad.

    They were brought from their jail cells at Kerobokan Prison earlier in the week and taken to meet their respective lawyers to be told the police investigation was at an end and their trials were imminent.

    Alleged drugs "mules" Martin Stephens and Renae Lawrence were told by lawyer Haposan Sihombing the evidence had been passed to prosecutors.

    The transfer of the files cleared the way for charges and their trials to begin – and with little in the way of a defence case – the first step towards a possible death sentence.

    All nine were taken to the prosecutor's office in Denpasar for the formal process.

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  • From Sydney to Indonesian firing squad
  • Dressed to Nines for steps to fate
  • Bali accused says she'd 'do it again'
  • Destination death row
  • Click Here for Bali 9 Case Information

    Australian businessman jailed five months in Indonesia for hashish

    An Australian businessman was sentenced Monday to five months' jail for hashish possession on Indonesia's Bali island.

    Adelaide native John Pyle was detained in May after authorities found 1.8 grams (0.06 ounces) of hashish at his Bali residence.

    Judge Nyoman Gede Wirya disregarded evidence that an Australian doctor was treating Pyle for drug addiction. Pyle's lawyer had argued that his client should be spared jail time because he was seeking medical help.

    Pyle is the second Australian recently jailed for drugs on Bali.

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  • Seven months for hash smoking
  • Bali prosecutors demand jail for SA man

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