March 08, 2011
The Thai embassy in Phnom Penh has sought permission from the Cambodian government to provide medical care to a Thai being jailed there for illegal entry and espionage charges.
Thai embassy officials have asked authorities of the Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh to send a doctor to see Veera Somkwamkid in jail or take him outside for treatment, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongphakdi was quoted as saying by the English- language Bangkok Post online.
Thani said the request was made in responding to news reports of Thai media that Veera was being ill, but he said Cambodian authorities have not replied to the request yet.
Thai media reported that Veera's relatives visited him on March 4 and found that he has fallen ill.
The relatives also said that Veera and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon did not appeal a Phnom Penh court's decision that found both of them guilty of illegal entry and espionage, but would be seeking a royal pardon instead.
Veera, a leader of the nationalistic Thai Patriots Network, whose supporters have been protesting against the government for its mishandling of the Thai-Cambodian border dispute, and Ratree and five other Thais were arrested by Cambodian soldiers on Dec. 29 for illegal entry.
On Jan. 21, the five Thais were found guilty by a Phnom Penh court of illegal entry into Cambodia and trespassing into a military area. Each was given nine months of imprisonment and fined one million riels (250 U.S. dollars), but the jail term was suspended.
The five returned to Bangkok the following day after spending almost a month in Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh.
Veera and Ratree were later sentenced to eight and six years of imprisonment respectively without suspension.