Home > Hun Sen, Local News > Families seek Thaksin’s help

Families seek Thaksin’s help

The families of two Thai nationalists convicted of espionage in Phnom
Penh Municipal Court earlier this year are reportedly seeking
assistance in securing their relatives’ release from fugitive former
Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Prime Minister Hun
Sen speaks with fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra during
a meeting at Hun Sen’s majestic home in Phnom Penh in December of 2009.
Photo by: Reuters
Thai “Yellow Shirt” leader
Veera Somkwamkid was convicted along with an associate, Ratree
Pipatanapaiboon, after they were arrested in Banteay Meanchey province
last year along with five other Thais including parliamentarian Panich
Vikitsreth. While Panich and four others were released on suspended
sentences after being convicted of trespassing, Veera and Ratree were
convicted of espionage and sentenced to eight- and six-year prison
terms, respectively.

Veera’s mother reportedly said she had
sought Thaksin’s help because her family “had waited for four months
for the present government to help her son”, the Bangkok Post reported

In a speech in February, Prime Minister Hun Sen rejected the possibility of pardons for Veera and Ratree.

come to persuade me to ask for a Royal pardon, I will not do that and
[the case] will be enforced under the law this time,” he said.

Under Cambodian law, prisoners are eligible for pardon after serving two-thirds of their jail sentences.

2009, however, the government released a Thai national sentenced to
seven years in prison on espionage charges just days after his

The suspect, an airport engineer named Sivarak
Chutipong, was arrested for allegedly passing the flight details of
Thaksin Shinawatra to the Thai embassy during one of the fugitive
former Thai premier’s
controversial visits to the Kingdom. Veera
and Ratree’s families said they sought to contact Thaksin in part
because they believed he had helped secure Sivarak’s release, the
Bangkok Post said.

Thai officials could not be reached for
comment yesterday, though Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva reportedly
said he would not object to Thaksin’s assistance.

“I think
anyone can help,” Abhisit said. “We feel sympathetic towards the
families of Veera and Ratree who want them to be released as quickly as

Cambodian Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong
declined to comment on whether the pardon requests would be granted,
but said the government planned to send a diplomatic note on the issue
to the Thai embassy by today.

“Our stance, I would like to stress, is that we abide by the law,” Koy Kuong said.

Categories: Hun Sen, Local News
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