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Jailed Thai Activists Withdraw Appeal for Release

Veera Somkwamkid, right, a leader of the People Alliance for Democracy known as "Yellow Shirt," and his assistant, Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, sit in a room of Cambodia's Appeal Court in Phnom Penh on Wednesday Dec. 28, 2011. Veera and his assistant withdrew

Two Thai political activists who were caught on the Cambodian side of the border in late 2010 and jailed for espionage withdrew their appeal to be released on Wednesday.

The two “yellow shirt” activists, Veera Somkwamkid and Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, are members of the Thailand Patriot Network, supporters of the former Thai government before it was replaced by the current administration, led by Yingluck Shinawatra, the sister of the former premier.

The two appeared before the Court of Appeals on Wednesday, withdrawing their appeal without explanation.

Veera is facing an eight-year sentence and Ratree a six-year sentence on charges of espionage and trespassing on military land during the height of cross-border tensions over disputed land on the northern border.

The withdrawal of their appeal comes just days ahead of a visit by Thailand’s foreign minister, Surapong Tovichakchaikul.

A lawyer for the two said they could seek a royal pardon after serving two thirds of their sentences.