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Thai doctor to visit Thai spy

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Thai Yellow Shirt activist Veera Somkwamkid enters Phnom Penh Municipal Court in December.

Government officials from Cambodia and Thailand have confirmed a doctor will be permitted to examine imprisoned Thai national Veera Somkhamkid, who is serving an eight-year sentence for espionage in Phnom Penh’s Prey Sar prison.

Sun Lean, director of Prey Sar, said yesterday that a Cambodian and Thai doctor, accompanied by the second secretary at Thailand’s embassy in Phnom Penh, would check up on Veera’s chronic illness – reportedly Rheumatoid arthritis – on Friday.  

“Our doctor at the prison already tested Veera’s blood and found no disease that would affect his health, but in order to make sure, we allowed the Thai doctor to double check,” he said.    

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi said Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior had granted Thailand permission to bring in a doctor to examine Veera, whose arthritis had reportedly flared up.

Veera and his secretary, Ratre Pipattanapaiboon, were sentenced to eight and six years in prison, respectfully, for espionage, illegal entry and unlawfully entering a military base in January this year after they were arrested in December 2010. Both are well known members of Thailand’s pro-Democrat Party “yellow-shirt” movement.  

Thai news website MCOT reported yesterday that Foreign Affairs Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said he will meet his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong soon to discuss options to free the pair.

Meanwhile, the Cambodian Defence Ministry has lashed out at the PAD for alleging Phnom Penh would hire 5,000 troops based on the border with Vietnam to support Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in the case of a coup d’état.

In a statement dated on Monday, Defence Ministry spokesman Chhum Socheat said the allegation, which was aired in an article written by PAD activist Somkiet Phongphaiboon and published in ASTV Manager Online on Saturday, was a fabrication designed to harm stability in the region.

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