King Norodom Sihamoni has granted a royal pardon to Thai yellow-shirt activist Veera Somkwamkid, who has been imprisoned in Cambodia since 2010, an assistant to Prime Minister Hun Sen said Tuesday.
The Cambodia Daily reported that the announcement was made during a visit to Cambodia by Thailand’s acting Foreign Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow, who made the request for the pardon of Veera on behalf of General Prayuth Chan-ocha, head of the military junta. “With the request from His Excellency [General Prayuth] Chan-ocha, Samdech [Mr. Hun Sen] told His Excellency Sihasak that Somkwamkid has been released following the pardon from the King, which was signed today,” said Eang Sophalleth, Mr. Hun Sen’s personal assistant, following a meeting between the prime minister and Sihasak. “He (Veera) was released earlier today and he will go back home with the delegate with His Excellency Sihasak’s delegation tomorrow,” Mr. Sophalleth added. Veera and his colleague Ratree Pipattanapaiboon, both ultra-nationalist Thai activists, were sentenced to eight and six years, respectively, in December 2010 for spying, entering the country illegally, and entering a restricted military area in Banteay Meanchey province. Ratree was released by a royal pardon in February 2013 along with 412 other prisoners to mark the cremation of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk.