Ratree: Pawn in a political game
- Published: 8/02/2013 at 12:51 AM
- Online news:
Thai Patriots Network activist Ratree Pipattanapaiboon claims she and a fellow activist, detained in Cambodia for spying, were mere pawns in a political ploy.
She also claims she has been subject to intimidation in a bid to silence her criticism of the former Democrat government. Ratree made her remarks Thursday during a meeting with the Senate committee on human rights, liberty and consumer protection.
The committee was inquiring about living conditions inside the Prey Sar prison of Phnom Penh, where Ratree was held for more than two years.
She was released last Friday after being granted a royal pardon.
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Fellow activist Veera Somkwamkid, who was arrested with Ratree and five other Thais on Dec 29, 2010, while inspecting a disputed border area near Sa Kaeo's Ban Nongchan, remains behind bars. He was sentenced to eight years. The term was commuted by six months.
Ratree told the committee she believed her pardon was politically motivated but said she was not aware of the bargaining that went on behind closed doors for it to be granted. She assumes it was the result of improved relations between the Yingluck Shinawatra government and Phnom Penh.
Had the pardon not been granted, she and Veera would have sought a transfer to a Thai prison, she said. Under a Thai-Cambodian prisoner transfer programme, any inmate who has served one-third of his sentence is eligible to be transferred to his native country to serve out the remainder of his term.
Ratree insisted the area where Cambodian soldiers arrested them was in Ban Nong Chan village of Khok Sung district of Thailand's Sa Kaeo province.
She also said the previous Democrat government failed to offer her proper assistance. She criticised the Democrats for failing to counter the Cambodian accusation that she was a spy.
She said a soldier had phoned a friend of hers, warning her off any plan to sue the government for dereliction of duty.
Ratree urged the government to quickly seek the transfer of Veera back to Thailand. She said he would prefer the transfer to a royal pardon.
About the author
- Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth