Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ly Tong won't be extradicted, says Thai court

A Thai court of appeals ruled that Vietnamese-American activist Ly Tong will not be extradicted to Vietnam, where he was to face charges for having hijacked a small plane in Thailand and then flying over Ho Chi Minh City, where he dropped about 50,000 anti-communist leaflets. The incident happened seven years ago, while former President Bill Clinton was visiting Vietnam. Tong was immediately arrested after he returned the plane to Thailand and spent 5 1/2 years in Thai prisons.

The court ruled that Tong should not be extradicted because his act had been purely political, and had not endangered Vietnam's national security. The court said Thailand did not extradite people to face political charges. In Vietnam, he would have been charged with hijacking, violating Vietnamese territory and spreading anti-Government propaganda. A spokesperson for Vietnam's foreign ministry strongly protested the decision, stating that Tong was guilty of "terrorist activities" and that he "gravely violated Viet Nam’s sovereignty, security and law, as well as international law and treaties."

Sources: Vietnam News Service, April 4; Voice of America/Ron Corbin, April 3.


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