Bot to sign Thai prisoner-exchange treaty
23 August 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Ben Bot was scheduled to sign a prisoner-exchange treaty with the Thai ambassador in The Hague on Monday.
23 August 2004
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Ben Bot was scheduled to sign a prisoner-exchange treaty with the Thai ambassador in The Hague on Monday.
The treaty offers hope for about a dozen Dutch prisoners serving long sentences in the highly criticised Thai prison system to serve out part of their jail terms in the Netherlands.
The Thai ambassador will sign the treaty in the Dutch Foreign Affairs Ministry on Monday, but the Dutch Parliament must ratify the agreement before it can come into affect, news agency nu.nl reported.
A majority of the Dutch detainees have been convicted on drug offences, the most well known of whom is Machiel Kuijt. He lodged a last ditch appeal for freedom late last year after he was convicted on appeal and sentenced to life in prison on drugs charges.
Amnesty International reported in November 2003 that human rights abuses — such as torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment — continue to occur in pre-trial detention and in the Thai prison system.
Minister Bot was initially expected to sign the prisoner-exchange treaty in Thailand at the end of this month during a stopover during his trip to Indonesia. But the Thai Foreign Minister, Surakiart Sathirathai, was unavailable.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news