BANGKOK, March 8 - The family of Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkwamkid, whose health is deteriorating as he serves his jail term in a Cambodian prison, met Tuesday with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to seek more vigorous government help in gaining the release of the detained activist.
Wilaiwan and Preecha Somkwamkid, Mr Veera's mother and brother, met for 45 minutes with the premier Tuesday afternoon at Government House, seeking concrete government assistance to help her son.
Mr Veera and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon were convicted by a Cambodian court on Feb 1 for espionage, illegal entry, and trespassing in a military zone. Mr Veera was sentenced to an eight-year jail term and a 1.8 million riel (US$450) fine, while Ms Ratree was handed a six-year jail term and a 1.2 million riel (US$300) fine.
Mr Abhisit commented that his government will explore possible means to help Mr Veera, who is now suffering severe health problems, and inform Cambodia about the matter.
We still don't know how long it will take to help the pair but we must speed up the help as soon as possible, Mr Abhisit said, adding that at least the health of Mr Veera and Ms Ratree were a matter of concern.
The premier said the detainees' families are now proceeding with a request for a royal pardon.
Mr Veera's brother earlier said the 53-year-old activist is in weak condition as he has congenital diseases and has not been given appropriate medical treatment and nutrition while in Preysar Prison.
Mr Preecha said the Somkwamkid family decided not to appeal the Cambodian court verdict and is now waiting for the Thai government to seek a royal pardon from the Cambodian king. He also urged the Thai Patriots Network not to appeal the ruling.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen earlier said it is impossible for a royal pardon for the detained Thai nationals as inmates are required to serve at least two-thirds of their jail terms first. The Thai premier conceded the renewed Thai-Cambodian border tension has affected legal proceedings to help the two detainees. (MCOT online news)