To: Honorable Pracha Ngamlamyang
The Chief Judge of The Rayong Court
In the article “Hijacker Gets 7 Years And 4 Months In Jail” by Achara Ashayagachat (Bangkok Post, 26 December 2003), there was this paragraph: “The Rayong Court first gave him a 12-year jail term …The sentence was later commuted to seven years and four months because he confessed.” And in the article “Leaflet Bomber Gets Seven Years In Jail” by Supalak Ganjanakhundee (The Nation, 26 Dec4ember 03), there was this sentence: “Tong must appeal within 30 days or the case would end, enabling the process of his extradition to VietNam to begin, his lawyer said.” I’ve been completely shocked by these reports because they totally contradicted my “Ly Tong’s Testimony Before The Criminal Court Of Rayong For The Last Court Hearing On 25 December 2003,” written under the order of Judge Pairut Noonphradej and sent to Court (The Chief, Judge Pairut Noonphradej, Judge Chatree Luangruang, Prosecutor Surasak Pransilpa and Lawyer Somsak Samret), 8 major prosecution witnesss and especially to His Majesty The King, The Prime Minister, The Senate President, The Foreign Minister, The Interior Minister, The Attorney General, The Prosecutor General, The National Police Chief and The Correction Department Chief of Thailand; and my “Ly Tong’s Last Statement For Christmas Verdict in 2003,” sent to the Court and prosecution witnesses mentioned above.
In the hearing on 25 December 03, I prepared to read “Ly Tong’s Last Statement For Christmas Verdict” before the Court but I was not allowed to have this legal rights as Court procedure stipulated . I did not complain because the Court had already received it one week before the Verdict hearing and the US Consul Jeffrey as well as Bangkok Post and The Nation reporters had its copies before the hearing began. Judge Pairut read the Verdict for almost an hour and I had no declaration to the Court after the translator notified me of the total sentence; 7 years and 4 months in Jail. The Verdict confirmed what I’d once said: “The Judges did not care to read my testimony!” Had they read it, they would have learned what Thira had asked me: “Okay! You satisfied with the result?” and his two times laughing joyfully when I told him: “The children are waving to us on the Street” (recorded in the Video tape filmed over Saigon, Vietnam, and the transcript), testified before Prachuap Court: “I had a quick look inside the envelope, paid no attention to the letter,” (That meant, he did not take the letter out and did not read it), and “The accused talked to me politely all the time until heading back to Thailand.” Had they read it, they would have known what police translator Suthathif had testified: “No body mentioned the threat from the letter at Banchang Police Station;” “There were no wordings in the said letter which implied any action forced upon the pilot of the aircraft …without intimidation of any kind;” including the police report on 18 November 2000 with an abstract and vague allegation: “If his instruction were not obeyed, such disobedience may cost the pilot his life” without having any words such as letter and crash in 475-Thai-word report; which meant, the crash threat from the letter was a fabrication made too late later; “Thira told me (Suthathif): Ly Tong was very nice. He used no threat, no force, only begging for help. Afraid of losing my job and my family, I had to change story. And I am very sorry;” and “ My husband got upset when they changed story because we’re justice defenders. Please help me to calm him down.” (Mrs. Suthathif has already confirmed these statements before Judge Batac Chat and done again before Judge Pairut and Judge Chatree in the 3 Nov. 03 hearing when she was summoned to appear in Rayong Court but was not allowed to testify officially at the witness’ stand, and her confirmation was not recorded in the court document!) Had they read it, they would have seen the Affidavit of John Cosgrove, the letter editor, with his testimony: “In editing the letter to the flight instructor, I mistakenly transcribed the word ground for crowd and omitted the preposition off from plunge in your original wording: I would jump off my aircraft into the ground” among five other typewritten mistakes; the confirmation of four Thai translators before the Rayong Court: Kig, Charlie, Banyat, and Maneesarm, who translated this sentence as “I jump into the ground;” and the demonstration that word’s meanings depended on its contexts. Even the court indictment confirmed that I used ten thousands U.S. dollars, video camera and other gifts to seduce Instructor Pilot Thira to help me and cooperate with me. That was why I told consul Jeffery and the press that: “I did not hijack the plane. I asked for Thira’s cooperation. I have already served 3 years and 1 month and 1 week. It’s enough. I did not care about the verdict because I had anticipated that it would be unfair through my experience with this Evil Alliance comprising of police investigators, prosecutors, judges, and lawyers. However, I would not appeal but ask for a transfer to serve out my prison term in the United States instead” so I could go ahead with my second plan: To sue Thailand (The 1982 Thai-U.S. treaty on Cooperation on the Execution of Penal Sentences allows prisoners who have served at least one-third of their jail terms to be transferred to prisons in their home country) This statement has been recorded correctly by Bangkok Post in the article mentioned above. Because the Verdict document was so long and the translator asked my to wait for his translation a little bit later, I took time to talk to U.S. consul and the press. When lawyer Somsak gave me some paper, I thought it might be the document to confirm that I would not appeal, the next hearing schedule (Most of my prison roommates were back to the court again after the verdict hearing to sign more paper) or other kind of legal procedure for verdict hearing… So, I automatically signed it without asking what kind of paper, because I always signed the testimony paper after its being translated and corrected at my request. When the police escorted my out of the courtroom, I thought they would lead me to the reserved detention room so the translator could translate the whole verdict and I would sign it as we’d done when the court room was to be spared for the next case. Only when the police led me to the car and took me back to the prison instead, I recognized that the paper I had signed was the verdict one, not something else, as I had assumed. It was too late to complain. Therefore, I was tricked to sign a verdict which was not yet translated to me, I did not know its content and did not have a copy of it until now (26 Dec, 2003), except the translator’s notification of the 7-year-4-month sentence! After having read the Bangkok Post and The Nation, I understood that there were some tricky sentences in the verdict such as “The sentence was later communed to seven years and four months because he confessed!”
With U.S. Consul Jeffrey, Mrs. Achara (Bangkok Post) and Mr. Supalak (The Nation) as my witness in this event, and with the attached documents as my evidences, I would like to request the Chief Judge of the Rayong Court:
- To delete the words “he confessed” from the verdict. I never confessed what I did not do even if you promised to acquit me as a condition because hijack was totally a false charge.
- To add these sentences next to my signature in the verdict: I reject the hijack charge. I accept the aviation and immigration violations as a civil disobedience, not a criminal offense.
- Give me a copy of the verdict and someone to translate it so I can know exactly its real content.
- Please clarify that Lawyer Somsak, on behalf of whom (the judges, the prosecutor, Thai government or Vietcong?), was spreading rumor that “the case end would enable the process of his extradition to Vietnam to begin?” Did the verdict intend to put in my mouth the words “I confessed” so Thai government had enough evidence and condition to satisfy Communist Vietnam’s request of my extradition, instead of transferring me back to the U.S.? The translator did not translate the verdict for me at the courtroom and lawyer Somsak gave me paper and ask for my signature without notifying me that it was the verdict belonged to this conspiracy!
- The Court could spend ten thousands U.S. dollars, could sell or use the video camera of mine for its own needs and benefits but could do nothing with my two video tapes filmed over Saigon, Vietnam. They are worthless to the court but priceless to me because they’re the record of my life history. Former Judge Batac Chay has promised to give them back to me when case is finished with the witness of Consul Jeffrey. So, please confiscate 10 thousand U.S. dollars and video camera as the court’s booty but give back the two videotapes as my trophy.
- If these requests could be satisfied in time, I won’t appeal but ask for a transfer to serve out my prison term in the United States. But if you do not agree with these requests, please notify me of your decision early so I can lodge an appeal within 30-day limit.
I appreciate your consideration and quick resolution for my problem.
Rayong Prison, December 26, 2003
CC: U.S. Consul Jeffrey C. Schwenk
Lawyer Somsak Samret
Journalist Achara Ashayagachat (Bangkok Post)
Journalist Supalka Ganjanakhundee (The Nation)