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Thai activists could face lighter jail terms

Prime Minister Hun Sen could request a reduction in sentences for two Thai “Yellow Shirt” nationalists found guilty of spying on King Norodom Sihamoni’s birthday next May, an official said yesterday.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that bilateral talks between Cambodia and Thailand could pave the way for an eventual prisoner exchange or royal pardon, but stressed that the two activists must first serve two-thirds of their jail terms.

“I think that [because of] the current good sentiment of the premier he may request to reduce their sentences during the King’s Birthday and traditional Khmer New Year,” Phay Siphan said.

In February, Veera Somkwamkid and his associate Ratree Pipattanapaiboon were handed eight and six-year jail sentences respectively for espionage after they were arrested in Banteay Meanchey province last December.

Meanwhile, in a statement made during the ASEAN Foreign Minister’s Meeting at United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said that General Border Committee meetings between Cambodia and Thailand were set to resume “soon” to determine a date for troop withdrawal from the demilitarised zone around Preah Vihear temple.

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