The Appeals Court on Wednesday sentenced a member of the Pattani United Liberation Organisation (Pulo), a separatist movement, to life in prison, reversing the Criminal Court's decision to drop all charges against him.
Prosecutors indicted Koseng, or Useng, Cheloh, a Pulo member, on charges of rebellion and illegal assembly of weapons and men to conduct terrorist activities with the aim being to separate five southern border provinces from the kingdom.
The court was told that between 1968 and Feb 10, 1998 Koseng and other Pulo members had recruited Muslim people into the separatist movement, extorted protection money from businessmen in the five southern border provinces and used the money to set up armed units to conduct terrorist activities, including attacks on government installations, destroying rail tracks with bombs and burning down bridges and schools, causing extensive damage and a large number of casualties.
The Criminal Court on Dec 1, 2008 dismissed the case against Koseng on the grounds that evidence against him was doubtful. The state appealed.
The Appeals Court today reversed the Criminal Court's decision and sentenced Koseng to death.
The death sentence was commuted to life on the grounds that his testimony was useful.
On Tuesday morning, eight military rangers and six civilians were wounded by a bomb blast on a road in Narathiwat's Tak Bai district. An assistant village headman was also shot dead in an ambush at Ban Luemu in Yala's Krong Pinang district.
On Monday night, three men were shot dead in Pattani's Kapho district by a group of men weating in military-style camouflage uniforms.
More than 5,000 people have been killed and over 8,400 injured in the three southernmost provinces and four districts of Songkhla since violence erupted in January 2004, according to Deep South Watch, an agency that monitors the conflict in the southern border provinces.
27 June 2012
Koseng, or Useng, Cheloh (Photo by Surapol Promsaka na Sakolnakorn)