Malaysiakini NEWS

No external pressure to keep Justo, says Thai minister

Mohd Haikal Mohd Isa, Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The decision to deny former PetroSaudi International employee Andre Xavier Justo his request to serve the remainder of his jail term in his country, Switzerland, was made "in accordance with Thai law".

According to Thai Justice Minister Gen Paiboon Koomchaya, under the country's law, anyone requesting to transfer the remainder of his jail sentence must have "not less than one year" left in his jail term.

"But the remainder of the jail term of this prisoner (Justo) is nine months, which did not meet the transfer (of prisoner) treaty law. Thus, the decision to deny the request."

"This law does not discriminate against anyone, and is effective for every prisoner who is eligible for the transfer. The Correctional Department’s decision is in accordance with the rule of law," he told Bernama in a telephone interview today.

Paiboon flatly denied allegations by the news portal Sarawak Report and a Swiss newspaper Le Temps that Bangkok made the decision under external pressure.

"How can another country interfere in our internal affairs? The fact is he (Justo) has nine months left in his jail sentence (which makes him ineligible for the transfer)," said the minister.

Justo pleaded guilty on Aug 17 last year to attempting to blackmail PetroSaudi International, which had dealings with 1MDB.

The court ordered the jail term to start on June 22, the day Justo was arrested at Koh Samui resort island in southern Thailand.

He was charged under Section 338 of the Thai Penal Code which carries a jail term of one to 10 years and a fine of between 2,000 baht (RM222) and 20,000 baht (RM2,223).

- Bernama

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