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Thai undertaker jailed for hiding 2,000 foetuses

BANGKOK – A THAI court has jailed an undertaker for 20 years for helping to hide 2,002 illegally aborted foetuses discovered in a Bangkok temple last year, an official said on Thursday.

thai undertaker jailed for hiding 2000 foetuses

Suchart Phumee was initially sentenced to two months for each of the corpses after pleading guilty to two charges of concealing the bodies and assisting illegal abortion clinics, said state prosecutor Rucha Krairiksha.

The cumulative sentences amounted to 333 years.

But the 38-year-old, who worked at the Phai Ngern Buddhist temple where the corpses were hidden, saw his sentence lowered to 20 years, ten years for each charge, the maximum penalty under Thai law.

A second suspect, Suthep Chabangbon, denied the charges. ‘The court sentenced him to 20 years and asked the prosecutor to refile the case of another suspect, who retracted his guilty plea, in the next seven days,’ Rucha said.

The foetuses, wrapped in plastic bags, were uncovered over several days in November in the temple’s three mortuary rooms. The grisly discoveries shocked Thailand and highlighted the scale of illegal abortions in a country where the procedure is only allowed when delivery would harm the mother or the pregnancy is the result of rape. — AFP

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