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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cheam Channy

Cheam Channy

J ailed opposition leader Cheam Channy has told a lawyer he will not appeal the seven-year prison sentence handed down for allegedly raising a rebel army.

Ket Khy, one of two lawyers involved in the case, met with Channy on October 6, and told the Post later that day that the former MP had declined to sign the appeal documents he had prepared.

That leaves Channy just one day to change his mind before the deadline for lodging his appeal, as the real date, Saturday, is not a working day for government officials.

Khy said Channy will meet his other lawyer on Friday September 7, but Khy did not think his client would move for an appeal.

The decision came as a shock to some in the Sam Rainsy Party (SRP).

"It's quite a surprise because his wife told me a few weeks ago that he would appeal," said Ung Bun-Ang, SRP spokesman. "Something happened a few hours ago."

Bun-Ang said it was in the best interests of Channy and the party to fight the conviction.

Keo Remy, an opposition parliamentarian, supported Channys decision not to appeal his case, although he did not know the exact motivation for Channy's choice.

"I think that Channy doesn't believe in the judicial system of Cambodia because of the political pressure from the ruling party," Remy said. "If he continues to appeal, it would be a waste of time since the verdict would never change."

Remy added that the decision not to appeal could allow King Norodom Sihamoni to consider granting amnesty for Channy.

Channy was convicted by a military tribunal on August 9 for his role in the SRP's shadow defense cabinet, which the judges said posed a threat to national security.

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