BANGKOK, Feb 17 -- Two Thai nationals jailed in Cambodia--Veera Somkwamkid, a key activist of a nationalist movement, and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon--have decided not to appeal their sentence to a Cambodian court, but will ask the Thai government to seek a royal pardon from the Cambodian king, according to their legal adviser.
Nattaporn Toprayoon, a legal adviser appointed by the Thai Patriots Network, told reporters that he has received a request from the families of Mr Veera, network coordinator, and Ms Ratree, to drop a plan to file an appeal and submit a request seeking an intervention from international organisations in the case.
He said their families were worried about their condition in the Cambodian prison and wanted them back to Thailand as soon as possible.
Mr Nattaporn said the legal process to help the two Thais did not go smoothly as it did not receive good cooperation from the Cambodian authorities.
The border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia at Si Sa Ket province between Feb 4-7 has worsened the situation, he said, adding that communication with Cambodian officials was very difficult.
The Cambodian court on Feb 1 ruled that the two were guilty of espionage, illegal entry and trespassing in a military zone. They were sentenced to an eight-year jail term and a 1.8 million riel (US$450) fine for Mr Veera and a six-year jail term and a 1.2 million riel (US$300) fine for Ms Ratree.
An appeal could be filed within 30 days.
The pair were among the seven Thais, including Democrat member of parliament for Bangkok Panich Vikitsreth, who were arrested Dec 29 by the Cambodian authorities for illegal entry in Banteay Meanchey province.
Five returned to Thailand after the Cambodian court on Jan 21 ruled them guilty of illegal entry and intentionally trespassing into Cambodian territory. They were sentenced to nine-month suspended jail terms and fines of one million riel (US$250) each.
People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) spokesman Panthep Puapongpan said the decision not to appeal showed that the government ignored their promise to help Mr Veera and Ms Ratree and let them fend for themselves in the Khmer prison.
‘Yellow Shirt’ activists from the PAD have encamped at Rajdamnoen Nok Avenue since Jan 25 with three demands--that Thailand withdraws from the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, revoke three memorandums of understanding signed by the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC), and eject Cambodian soldiers and villagers in border areas the group claims belong to Thailand.
Meanwhile, China's Xinhua news agency quoted Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen as saying that there will be no royal pardon for Mr Veera.
".. don't come to persuade me to ask King Norodom Sihamoni for royal pardon. It's impossible at this time.. comply with the law properly," the premier said, adding that the two must serve "at least two-thirds of their jail terms before being considered for royal amnesty."
In a related development, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association chairman Wisuth Komwatcharapong has discussed with the PAD their proposal to mediate talks between the Yellow Shirts and the government on Thai-Cambodian border dispute.
Mr Panthep told reporters after meeting that PAD agreed to join the special televised programme to inform the public with journalists asking questions on condition that the Yellow Shirts and the government would have three hours airtime each and the programme would not be on the same day.
Mr Wisuth said he would carry the PAD proposal for consideration before informing the government. (MCOT online news)
(Good to see these two yellow shirt to serve full term in jail without the royal pardon... their time in jail is for the lost of innocent Cambodia/Thai lifes during the clashed on the 4-5-6)