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Pardon sought for jailed Thai

Thai national Sivarak Chutipong, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on spying charges, is led from court Tuesday.AFP

THAILAND’s opposition Puea Thai party is working to secure a Royal pardon for a Thai man convicted of breaching national security and sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison, Puea Thai officials said.

Sivarak Chutipong, 31, was found guilty in Phnom Penh Municipal Court under the Law on Archives and imprisoned after leaking the flight schedule of fugitive former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh during Thaksin’s visit to Cambodia last month.

Sean Boonpracong, an associate of Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit who spoke on his behalf, said Wednesday that the party is “working tirelessly on Mr Sivarak’s behalf”.

“We working in every possible way to help free him, and that will manifest itself soon,” Sean said, adding: “The goal that we are working for is the pardon.”

Thai media reported Wednesday that Sivarak’s mother, Simarak Na Nakhonphanom, said she planned to seek assistance from Thaksin and Puea Thai party chairman Chavalit Yongchaiyudh in light of the strained relations between Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

“I don’t know where and from whom to seek help, but, former prime minister Thaksin and General Chavalit, please help my son to get freedom,” Simarak was quoted as saying by Bangkok’s The Nation newspaper.

The Thai News Agency reported that Thaksin legal adviser Noppadon Pattama said he had already consulted with Deputy Prime Minister Sok An about a pardon for Sivarak.

Khieu Sambo, Sivarak’s defence attorney, declined to comment on the prospect of a pardon, saying he and his client were still in the process of deciding how to proceed.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Wednesday that the government had not made plans to intervene in the case. “For the time being, I think that the court system will make its own decision.”

No changes at CATS
At the time of his arrest on November 12, Sivarak was working as an engineer in Phnom Penh for Cambodia Air Traffic Services (CATS), a subsidiary of Thailand’s Samart corporation.

On November 19, the Cambodian government took control of CATS, installing a temporary caretaker to manage the firm and banning the company’s nine Thai employees from the premises, pending the outcome of Sivarak’s case.

Samart vice president of corporate communications, Kanokwan Chanswangpuvana, said Wednesday that CATS remained in the hands of the Cambodian government.

“Right now, the company’s status is still the same. We haven’t been further informed by the Cambodian government yet, because we have to wait to until the case of [Mr] Sivarak is final,” she said.

Soy Sokhan, undersecretary of state at the Civil Aviation Secretariat, declined to comment on when CATS would be returned to its original management.



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