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Thai Espionage Prisoner To Be Released Feb. 1

Thai activists, from right, Ratri Pipatanapaiboon, Veera Somkwamkid, Kochpontorn Chusanaseree, Samdin Lersbusya, eat breakfast at Phnom Penh Appeal Court, file photo.
PHNOM PENH - A Thai prisoner accused of espionage will be released Feb. 1, following the request of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, but another will remain in prison, Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana announced Friday.

Ratri Pipattanaopaiboon, a woman, will be released, and Veera Somkwamkid will have his sentence reduced at the behest of Prime Minister Hun Sen, the minister said.

“For the female prisoner, the prime minister has requested her release on the first [of February],” he said. “As for Veera we have reduced his sentence by six months.”

Veera has not served enough time to be concerned for parole, he said.

“Samdech Prime Minister has taken humanitarian grounds into consideration as well for the female prisoner,” he added.

Ratri and Veera were arrested near the Thai border in 2010, at the heigh of a protracted military border standoff, and accused of spying on military facilities in Bantheay Meanchey province. Five other Thais arrested with them have already been released.