Saudi family to appeal court ruling on businessman’s death


BANGKOK, Apr 1 – The family of the Saudi businessman who was killed in Thailand 24 years ago will appeal yesterday’s Criminal Court ruling to drop charges against five Thai police officers implicated in the case.

Abdul Ilah Shu’aybi, Saudi Arabia charge d’affairs in Thailand, accompanied by Matrook al-Ruwaili and Atiche al-Ruwaili, the victim’s brother-in-law and brother respectively, gave a press conference after the court’s verdict, saying they would appeal the case in 30 days.

Saudi businessman Mohammad al-Ruwaili was killed in Bangkok in February 1990 – an incident which has strained relations between Thailand and Saudi Arabia ever since.

Five Thai police officers were charged with the premeditated murder but the case was dismissed by the Criminal Court yesterday.

Mr Abdul Ilah said he was not surprised by the court’s verdict, adding that he had been concerned since being informed that there were changes in the judges for the case.

He said he learned that the defendants had been trying to change the judges, adding that such a practice led to suspicion.

Asked whether the court’s verdict would affect Thai-Saudi relationship, Mr Abdul Ilah said ties between the two countries have been rocky and it could not be worse.

The Saudi Embassy will inform its government on the court’s verdict but the future of the bilateral relationship depends on the government, he said.

Mr Atiche al-Ruwaili said he was disappointed with the court’s ruling and the change of judges was unfair.

Thongchai Senamontri, Criminal Court Chief Judge, explained that the change of judges was a normal practice and two panels of judges have been changed since the trial began.

He admitted that relationship between the two countries was a sensitive issue but called on Mr al-Ruwaili’s family to be careful in their statements to the media. (MCOT online news)