Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former Khmer Power Party leader Serey Ratha gets five years in prison

Former Khmer Power Party leader Serey Ratha gets five years in prison

Former Khmer Power Party President Sourn Serey Ratha, seen in handcuffs, gets out of a police vehicle following his arrest earlier this month in Phnom Penh.
Former Khmer Power Party President Sourn Serey Ratha, seen in handcuffs, gets out of a police vehicle following his arrest earlier this month in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Former Khmer Power Party leader Serey Ratha gets five years in prison

Former Khmer Power Party head Sourn Serey Ratha was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and fined $2,500 on Friday for allegedly inciting soldiers to disobey orders by criticising the recent deployment of troops to the Lao border.

His defence lawyer, Sok Sam Oeun, yesterday said Serey Ratha was found guilty of inciting military personnel to disobedience, demoralising the army and incitement.

“That’s why he received five years,” he said. “He will appeal.”

Serey Ratha, 44, was arrested earlier this month after he wrote on Facebook that a conflict between the two countries would only harm soldiers, while generals could safely enjoy their “money” and “girls”.

A snap trial followed just a day after his arrest, but was postponed by 10 days to allow the one-time convicted “terrorist” to find a lawyer. The judgment was pronounced a day after his trial, in which he faced up to 12 years in prison.

Sam Oeun said that the judgment might intimidate others. “He just said it like that [without thinking] and got sentenced: it makes others scared and think that there is no right to talk,” he said.

Serey Ratha’s wife, Nai Chakriya, said the prison sentence of five years and 10 million riel fine (about $2,500) was too harsh.

“To me, it is unjust. It was just his expression and what he said, because he cares about the army, he loves the nation and was worried about the nation,” she said.

“He did not mean to cause a problem. But the court sentenced him like that anyway. It is not justice for him.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all