Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Thai embassy trying to help Veera

via CAAI

Published: 7/03/2011
Online news:

The Thai embassy in Phnom Penh has sought permission from the Prey Sar prison to send a doctor to visit Veera Somkwamkid in jail, or take him outside for treatment, but has not yet received a reply, Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said on Monday.

Mr Thani was responding to a report that Mr Veera is unwell and that his relatives had decided not to appeal against the jail sentence handed down by a Cambodian court, but to seek a royal pardon instead.

Even though the Thai embassy was not allowed to visit Mr Veera in the prison, its officials delivered food to him twice a day, Mr Thani said. The doctors at the Prey Sar prison told the officials only that Mr Veera has a minor cold.

After hearing a news report that Mr Veera's relatives visited him at the prison on March 4 and later said he was "seriously ill", the embassy had sought permission from the prison to send a doctor to see him in jail, or take him out for treatment.

The prison had not yet replied to the request, Mr Thani said.

Mr Veera and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon and five other Thais, including Democrat Party MP Panich Vikitsreth, were arrested by Cambodian soldiers on Dec 29, initially for illegal entry. Mr Veera and Ms Ratree were later additionally charged with espionage.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced the other five to nine months for illegal entry. The five Thais, including Mr Panich, were freed after their remaining jail time of eight months was suspended.

Mr Veera and Ms Ratree were later sentenced to eight and six years imprisonment, respectively, for espionage.

Asked about their wish to seek a royal pardon, Mr Thani said the two had to consult their lawyers and set the time for submitting a request. After that the embassy would facilitate its submission.

On a the chance of a Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) meeting, Mr Thani said Cambodia had informed Thailand that it would wait until the Thai parliament approved the agreements made at three previous JBC meetings before setting the date for the next meeting.

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