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Hun Sen Wants Thai ‘Spies’ Released

Thai activists Veera Somkwamkid, second left, a core leader of Yellow Shirts and Panich Vikitsreth, a member of Parliment of the ruling Democrat party, second right, are escorted by Cambodian court security personnel at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - Prime Minister Hun Sen has written the Minister of Justice to seek reduced sentences for two Thai nationals who were jailed on espionage charges in 2010.

The minister will decide soon on whether to release Veera Somkwamkid and Ratri Pipattanaopaiboon, who were arrested in Banthey Meanchey province in the midst of a tense military border standoff, according to a statement from the ministry.

The reduced sentence could come after the cremation ceremony for former king Norodom Sihanouk, following requests by Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra, officials said.

Bun Yay Narin, deputy director of cabinet for the Justice Ministry, said the minister has received a request from Hun Sen, but declined to provide more details, referring questions to cabinet director Sam Prachea Meanith, who could not be reached for comment.

Shinawatra requested the pardons during the Asean summit in Phnom Penh in November and reiterated the request this week, the ministry statement said.

Veera Somkwamkid is facing eight years in prison and Ratri Pipattanaopaiboon six, on charges of espionage and illegal entry into Cambodia. Five others arrested alongside them have already been released on suspended sentences.