Thai ultranationalist freed after imprisonment in Cambodia

Thai ‘Yellow Shirt’ leader jailed in Cambodia on espionage charges granted royal pardon.

Thai ultranationalist freed after imprisonment in Cambodia

World Bulletin / News Desk

A Thai ultranationalist jailed in Cambodia on espionage charges has been granted a royal pardon, a government spokesman told the Anadolu Agency late Tuesday.

Veera Somkwamkid and his colleague Ratree Pipattanapaiboon had been sentenced to eight-and six- year jail terms in May 2011 after they were accused of being Thai spies and of entering Cambodian territory illegally. Ratree was pardoned and released in 2013.

“[Veera] was pardoned by the King as proposed by the prime minister,” said Phay Siphan, a chief government spokesman.

The pardon was granted during a visit to the country by acting Thai Foreign Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow, who asked PM Hun Sen for the favor.

It comes in the wake of a May 22 coup that saw Thailand's military overthrow the elected government -- led by Yingluck Shinawatra and her Pheu Thai party, close allies of Hun Sen.

Siphan said that there was nothing unusual about the pardon being granted now.

“In this case it’s not a political concession,” he added.

Veera had been arrested in December 2010 while trespassing with a small group of Thais on Cambodian territory -- most of them were released by Phnom Penh shortly afterward at the request of Thai authorities. In March this year, a request by Thailand for Veera's release was rejected.

Veera is the leader of the ultranationalist fringe of the “Yellow Shirts,” royalists opposed to the governments of Yingluck and her elder brother former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra -- a divisive figure in Thai politics.

Veera’s small group -- the Thai Patriot Networks -- had led a campaign, ignored by the Thai public, in 2010 about the contested territory surrounding the Preah Vihear temple, long a violent flashpoint between the two countries now located on the Cambodian side of the border. 

Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2014, 17:11
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