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Accused Thai Spy Sentenced to 7 Years

Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday sentenced a Thai engineer to seven years in prison and a fine of 10 million riel, or $2,500, on charges related to spying.

In a hearing held under tight security, Siwarak Chothipong, 31, was found guilty under the country’s national archives law, which prohibits the distribution of documents related to national security, as his mother, who was present, wept at the verdict.

Siwarak was arrested on Nov. 11 after allegedly passing flight information on Prime Minister Hun Sen and ousted Thai premier Thaksin Shinawatra to Thai Embassy officials in Phnom Penh.

He is at the center of an ongoing diplomatic row between Cambodian and Thailand, following the hiring of Thaksin as Hun Sen’s economic adviser. He worked for the Thai-owned Cambodian Air Traffic Service, which is in charge of air traffic control.

Cambodian government lawyer Phal Chandara called the decision “fair.” Siwarak’s lawyer, Khieu Sambor, declined to comment.

A Thai Embassy official said there was no plan to appeal the decision, but Thai government officials will later seek Siwarak’s pardon through official channels.