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Mother visits alleged spy a second time

Mother visits alleged spy a second time

THE mother of a Thai national detained on spying charges arrived in Phnom Penh on Wednesday to visit him in prison for the second time, this time with help from the Thai opposition.

Simarak na Nakhonphanom met with Noppadon Pattama, legal adviser to fugitive Thai former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and officials from the Puea Thai Party in Thailand before departing for Phnom Penh. Puea Thai is associated with the National United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), also known as the Red Shirts, and with Thaksin. Simarak’s son, 31-year-old Sivarak Chutipong, was arrested November 12 for leaking Thaksin’s flight schedule to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh during the onetime telecom mogul’s visit to the Kingdom last month.

UDD international spokesman Sean Boonpracong said Sivarak’s mother’s choice to seek help from the Thai opposition was natural given the recent rancour between Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

“His mother came to our party because she thought that since we have some influence with Hun Sen, it would be advantageous,” Sean said,
adding that in the diplomatic row between the two countries, Abhisit “overreacted from the beginning and created unnecessary tension”.

Noppadon coordinated the visit of Sivarak’s family to Cambodia and covered their expenses, the Thai News Agency quoted Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopaparit as saying.

Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs deputy spokesman Thani Thongphakdi said the Thai government is not put off by the opposition’s involvement in the case.

“It’s understandable that any mother would try to do her best for her child,” Thani said. “As far as the government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are concerned, we’ll continue to do our best to help Khun Sivarak.”

Mong Kim Heng, director of Prey Sar prison, said Sivarak met with his mother and brother, Pongsuree Chutipong, for about an hour on Wednesday morning.

Sivarak has a bail hearing at Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday, and his trial is scheduled for December 8. If convicted of threatening national security under Article 19 of the 2005 Law on Archives, he could receive up to 15 years in prison. His family visited him at Prey Sar for the first time last week.

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