Wildlife Friends is cleared of all charges
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2013: (Actually published on October 8, 2013)
BANGKOK––All charges pending against the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand, founder Edwin Wiek, and his wife Jansaeng “Noi” Sangnanork were dropped on August 27, 2013.
Wildlife Friends was in February 2012 repeatedly raided, animals on the premises were seized, and Wiek and Sangnanork were jailed on charges of illegally possessing wildlife and illegally operating an animal hospital.
Wiek had for nearly 10 years repeatedly alleged that the administration of former Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife & Plant Conservation chief Damrong Phidet was ignoring illegal trafficking of elephants and orangutans for use in tourist attractions.
Phidet was in August 2012 called to face a Parliamentary Committee on Law & Human Rights hearing in Bangkok, “to answer to allegations and questions on abuse of power, selective enforcement, slander and harassment,” Wiek recounted. Phidet retired a month later.
Some of the charges were dropped in October 2012, but on June 27, 2012 a provincial court found Wildlife Friends, Wiek, and Sangnanork guilty with a verdict stating, according to an unofficial transcript, that “This court has taken the statements of two government officials and believes these statements must be correct. The court did not check on paper and other evidence of the defendant, as it believes that Thai government officials always work straightforward, with full integrity. The court rules it has not considered any evidence that was handed over after the 13th of February 2012, no paperwork, video evidence or any form of other argument.”
Wiek’s legal counsel was unable to obtain an official written copy of the verdict, which was dismissed on appeal.