Trial of alleged organiser of 2019 attack on Thai refugees delayed

A Paris Court has postponed the appeal trial of Petr Donatek, a Czech man who allegedly hired two henchmen to assault Aum Neko and Nithiwat Wannasiri, two Thai refugees in France, in 2019. The rescheduling leaves questions about the alleged ringleader of the crime immediately unanswered.

Nithiwat Wannasiri (third from the left) and Aum Neko (fourth from the left) along with their friends at the Court.

On 1 December, a Paris Court arranged a hearing for Donatek to present an appeal against a 30 month sentence he was earlier handed in absentia for his role in the case. Observers in the court included Thai refugees, their French friends, and journalists from Le Monde, Radio Prague International, and Prachatai English.

Donatek was not in the dock long. His lawyer claimed personal problems and complained that certified Thai and Czech interpreters were not available due to a lack of Justice Department funding and mismanagement within it.

In response, the president of the Court expressed displeasure with the situation and postponed the trial to January 19. 

The delay put off a chance to ascertain the identity of the mastermind behind the attack against Aum Neko, and Nithiwat Wannasiri or Jom Faiyen, Thai political refugees living in France. The incident happened in Paris around midnight on 17 November 2019 when a small group of Thai refugees and a few of their friends left Le Zinc, a brasserie in District 15 of Paris.

Nithiwat's Facebook post describing the attack and showing his injuries.

Two Czech nationals, Jakub Hosek and Daniel Vokal, were later arrested for the attack. They may have had an additional target, Jaran Ditapichai, whose picture was found in one of their phones. By chance, the old-age Jaran was not there.

‘They want to exterminate regime changers.’ Thai refugee speaks of assault case

During their trial, the two henchmen claimed to have been hired by a third Czech man, Petr Donatek.  Donatek was in Paris on the day of the assault but returned home to the Czech Republic without being arrested. Hosek and Vokal received 26 months jail sentences and have already been released. The alleged organiser of the attack, Donatek, was sentenced to 30 month in jail in absentia.

Because French authorities issued an arrest warrant, he was detained in Italy last October and extradited to France. Since then, he has been in jail in Fresnes, a suburb of Paris. 

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