Sunday, 20 February 2011

'Patriots' fire Veera case lawyer

via CAAI

Network disagrees with seeking of royal pardon

Published: 19/02/2011
The Thai Patriots Network has dismissed its legal adviser, Nathaporn Toprayoon, over a disagreement on how to help its coordinator, Veera Somkwamkid, and his secretary, Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, who are both imprisoned in Cambodia.

The network's decision follows a move by Mr Nathaporn to seek a royal pardon from Cambodian monarch King Norodom Sihamoni for Mr Veera and Ms Ratree, who have decided not to appeal against their convictions.

Mr Veera and Ms Ratree were jailed for eight and six years, respectively, by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Feb 1 for illegal entry into Cambodia and spying.

But Chaiwat Sinsuwong, a co-leader of the network, said yesterday Mr Nathaporn has been dismissed because his approach in dealing with the sentencing of Mr Veera and Ms Ratree was different from that of the network.

Mr Chaiwat said the network adhered to the intentions of Mr Veera and Ms Ratree to lodge an appeal against their verdicts and fight the charges.

Mr Nathaporn yesterday shrugged off the network's decision to fire him.

He insisted he would continue representing Mr Veera and Ms Ratree because the two had appointed him to act on their behalf in the case and they had made clear their intentions to seek a royal pardon.

Mr Nathaporn said Mr Veera and Ms Ratree's families will hold a press conference today to talk about their plan to pursue a royal pardon.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said earlier the two would have to serve at least two-thirds of their jail term before they would be considered for a pardon.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday the government would do everything in its power to obtain the pair's release.

However, he admitted that the border tensions between the two countries could hamper efforts to help them.

Mr Abhisit urged the anti-Cambodia protesters led by the network and the People's Alliance for Democracy to avoid complicating the problem and to instead work with the government to find ways to bring Mr Veera and Ms Ratree home.

Mr Abhisit also said no peacekeeping forces from Asean had been sent to Cambodia and reaffirmed his stance that the best way to end the border conflict would be through bilateral negotiations.

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