Laos ambassador to Thailand, Mr. Hiem Phommachanh, told VOA that the sixteen Lao nationals involved in the July 2000 raid on the Vangtao-Chong Mek border checkpoint will be tried as criminals on charges of robbery and destruction of government properties. As such, they will not face death penalty.
The ambassador also says they will receive all rights accorded defendents in criminal cases by Lao laws, including the rights to visits by relatives and, most important, legal representation. But to bring lawyers from abroad to defend them is out of question; and foreign observers will most likely not be allowed to observe the court proceedings because Laos considers this an internal affair.
Listen to our Laos Today report for details by clicking on the audio file above.