Home > Local News > Tea Banh has no idea if Veera will be freed

Tea Banh has no idea if Veera will be freed

PHNOM PENH : Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Tea Banh says he has no
idea when or if Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkwamkid and
his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, would be granted a royal pardon
and released from Prey Sar prison.
Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh, centre, Khunying Phankrua
Yongchaiyudh (the wife of former prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh)
and Gen Wichit Yathip (Gen Chavalit’s close aide) attend the
openingceremonyfor the SofitelPhnom Penh Phokeethra Hotel yesterday.
The hotel is run by Thai businessman Supachai Veeraphuchong.
In an interview with the Bangkok Post, Gen Tea Banh, also defence
minister, said certain procedural steps must be followed if a pardon
was to be granted.
The pair submitted official documents to the Cambodian government
requesting a pardon from King Norodom Sihamoni two weeks ago. Veera and
Ratree are currently serving eight and six-year terms respectively for
illegal entry into Cambodia and espionage late last year. 
Gen Tea Banh
granted the interview yesterday after presiding over the opening
ceremony of the Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra Hotel, run by Thai
businessman Supachai Veeraphuchong.
He said he did not know if Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen had
forwarded their pardon petition to King Sihamoni. Nobody could predict
what the decision would be, or when the two Thai detainees would be
released if pardoned.
“It’s not that anybody can just easily ask to be released. Cambodian justice procedures can’t be interfered with.”
Gen Wichit Yathip, a former deputy army chief and a close aide to
former prime minister Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who also attended the
hotel’s opening ceremony, said Thailand’s Democrat-led coalition
government should ask those with close Cambodian connections to help
Veera and Ratree.
Gen Wichit said he and Gen Chavalit were ready to help, if needed.
“But the government and the Foreign Ministry have never asked Gen
Chavalit or myself for help and it is improper for us to offer our help
[without being asked],” he said.
Gen Chavalit was invited as a VIP guest but did not attend, sending his wife Khunying Phankrua in his place.
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