Friday, 4 March 2011

Ministry insists Thai pair will seek pardon

via CAAI

Published: 3/03/2011
Newspaper section: News

The Foreign Affairs Ministry insists Thai Patriots Network coordinator Veera Somkhwamkid and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon want to submit a request for a royal pardon from Cambodia's king.

Permanent secretary for foreign affairs Theerakul Niyom yesterday said Mr Veera and Ms Ratree did not submit appeals to Cambodia's Court of Appeal after the deadline expired yesterday.

Instead they told the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh that they would seek a royal pardon.

"They told the Thai embassy there, and the Thai embassy sent a note to inform the ministry in Bangkok of their planned request for a royal pardon," said Mr Theerakul.

He could not confirm when the two would seek a royal pardon, saying that as far as he knew it might be in the process of being submitted.

The confirmation by Mr Theerakul could clear up public doubts over the status of the two Thais, detained at Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh on spying charges.

Ex-Buri Ram senator Karun Sai-ngam, one of their legal advisers, sowed confusion in an interview yesterday when he said that he, on behalf of his clients, submitted appeals against their sentence to Cambodia's Court of Appeal on Tuesday.

Mr Karun said the pair had not signed their names to a request for a royal pardon as the Thai government had announced.

He also complained that he went to Cambodia last Tuesday but staff of the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh had blocked him from visiting Mr Veera and Ms Ratree.

Khwan (her last name withheld), a secretary to Mr Veera's family, said Mrs Wilaiwan, Mr Veera's mother, was confused about Mr Karun's remarks, because Mr Veera had not informed his mother of his decision to lodge an appeal before.

"The two met at Prey Sar prison on Feb 15, so why didn't his mother know about this matter?" she asked.

"It is impossible," she said.

Ms Khwan said Mr Veera's mother has a plan to help her son but it could not be revealed at the moment.

Regarding a report that Mr Veera was seriously ill, Mr Karun said ML Wanwipa Charoonroj, a legal adviser of the Thai Patriots Network, would make inquiries with the International Committee of the Red Cross, which acts as a coordinator on issues related to prisons in Cambodia.

Democrat MP Panich Vikitsreth yesterday said relatives of Mr Veera and Ms Ratree had sought a royal pardon for both of them as this was the only way to secure their release quickly. The request was filed with the Thai Foreign Ministry and it would be sent to the Cambodian Interior Ministry, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Cambodia's King Norodom Sihamoni. Mr Panich said relatives of the detainees would ask to visit them tomorrow as Mr Veera was ill with a head wound, allergies, itching and respiratory problems.

Mr Panich was released from Prey Sar prison late in January after being imprisoned for trespassing on Cambodian territory on Dec 29 last year.

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