Thaksin back in Cambodia as Thai spy to be freed

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said Siwarak would be officially freed on Monday at Hun Sen's residence.

Thaksin back in Cambodia as Thai spy to be freed

Fugitive former Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Cambodia on Sunday, a month after a visit that sparked a diplomatic row when the Cambodian government refused Bangkok's request to extradite him.

The episode led to a Thai engineer working for Cambodian air traffic control being found guilty of spying for leaking Thaksin's flight details to the Thai embassy.

Siwarak Chutipongse, 31, was pardoned last week after a request to Cambodia's king from Thaksin and others, according to a Cambodian minister speaking at the time, and Thaksin went immediately to see Sirawak on his arrival on Sunday.

He travelled to the prison where Sirawak is being held, before his release on Monday, in a police-escorted convoy of 14 vehicles.

"I am very happy that Thaksin, who is economic adviser to the government, and Prime Minister Hun Sen, helped to release my client," Siwarak's lawyer, Khieu Sambo, told journalists outside the prison.

Thaksin was ousted by the military in 2006 and later sentenced to jail in absentia on conflict of interest charges.

Cambodian government spokesman Phay Siphan said Siwarak would be officially freed on Monday at Hun Sen's residence.

He told Reuters that Thaksin had not had a direct role in Siwarak's release and that the billionaire former telecoms tycoon would hold economic seminars this week with Cambodian officials.

"He is going to be released because of humanitarian reasons and because his mother requested a royal pardon," Siphan said, adding this was a sign Cambodia's government wanted good relations with the Thai nation.

Last Tuesday a court had jailed Siwarak for seven years for breaching national security by passing on Thaksin's flight schedule to a Thai diplomat, who was subsequently expelled.


Reuters

Last Mod: 14 Aralık 2009, 11:00
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