Swedish Falungong member deported from Thailand

Swedish Falungong practitioner, Pirjo Svensson, who had been arrested and detained by Thai authorities for over a month without being charged, left the country on June 5 night after being informed that an appeal against the revocation of her visa was a month late, The Nation newspaper reported.
     Ms. Pirjo Svensson was escorted to the airport from an immigration detention centre by Swedish Ambassador Jan Axel Nordlander. Under the law, Svensson will not be allowed to re-enter Thailand.
     Svensson was arrested at her husband’s Bangkok apartment on April 29 on suspicion that she planned to stage a Falungong protest during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao to the capital for a SARS summit.
     The Swedish housewife submitted an appeal on May 7 but did not receive a response from the immigration appeals committee, which convenes once a month.
     The Swedish Embassy said in a statement issued on the day Svensson was deported that it was hard to comprehend how Svensson constituted a threat to Thailand’s security, and that it was surprising that her appeal was deemed late.
     “This information is surprising since none of the Thai representatives with whom the embassy has been in contact over the past weeks, while Mrs. Svensson has been in detention, have informed her or us that the appeal was not submitted within the prescribed time limit,” the embassy said.
     Falungong sect is outlawed by the Chinese government but not prohibited in Thailand.

Original story by Marisa Chimprabha, The Nation

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