Veera, Ratree ‘may be released soon’…Post spreaded rumour for a price
Bangkokpost,18 July 2012
Veera Somkwamkid, a coordinator of the Thai Patriots Network, and his secretary Ratree Pipattanapaiboon who are serving time in a Cambodian prison after being found guilty of illegal entry and spying, may be released soon, deputy government spokesman Anusorn Iamsa-ard said on Wednesday.Mr Anusorn said a “positive” signal had been received that Veera and Ratree might be released as a result of improved relations between Thailand and Cambodia, particularly after the visits to Phnom Penh by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul.
There had been talks between the two countries over the release of the two and much progress had been made, he said.
Relations between the two countries during the first half of 2011 soured after Cambodian police arrested seven Thai political activists who illegally entered Cambodia after crossing the border near Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo province on Dec 29, 2010. They were put on trial early last year.
The seven are former Democrat MP Panich Vikitseth; Kitpolthorn Chusanasewi, Mr Panich’s driver; Narumol Jitrawaratana, coordinator of the Thai Patriot Network; Veera and Ratreee; Samdin Lertbutr, a PAD activist; and Tainae Mungmajon, another PAD activist.
Five of them were later released. Veera and Ratree were detained, tried and sentenced to eight and six years imprisonment respectively on charges of illegal entry and spying. Veera had been arrested for illegal entry previously and released with a warning.
Concerning the withdrawal of soldiers from disputed land near the Preah Vihear temple by both countries and the deployment of border patrol police as replacements, Mr Anusorn said this was in response to the International Court of Justice’s order for Thailand and Cambodia to pull out their troops from the demilitarised zone, not to a demand from Cambodia.
This is to make way for observers from Indonesia to enter the disputed area soon and part of preparations for the establishment of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
All agencies concerned, including the armed forces, had confirmed that withdrawal of troops would not put Thailand at a disadvantage, the spokesman said.
Mr Anusorn said improved relations would also lead to the demarcation of the disputed 4.6 square kilometre area around Preah Vihear temple.