Cambodia sentences Thai activists for spying

A Cambodian court has sentenced two Thais to lengthy prison terms for illegally crossing the border and spying in a high-profile case that will likely have important ramifications for Thai domestic politics.

In a one-day trial Tuesday, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court found Veera Somkwamkid, who heads a political pressure group, the Thailand Patriot Network, and his assistant Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, guilty of espionage, illegal entry and trespassing in a military zone. Veera was sentenced to eight years in prison and Ratree to six years.

Veera's group promotes the claim that border lands held by Cambodia actually belong to Thailand. It has accused the current Thai government of failing to help them in their court fight and tried to use the arrests to inflame nationalism at home.