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Imprisoned lawmaker casts vote for Clinton

Opposition activist Meach Sovannara is escorted into the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh last month ahead of a hearing.
Opposition activist Meach Sovannara is escorted into the Supreme Court in Phnom Penh last month ahead of a hearing. Heng Chivoan

Imprisoned lawmaker casts vote for Clinton

Opposition official and dual US-Cambodian citizen Meach Sovannara has cast his vote for Hillary Clinton in the US election from his Prey Sar prison cell, according to posts on Sovannara’s Facebook page and multiple sources close to the matter.

The sources yesterday said that officials from the US Embassy’s US Citizen Services Bureau had given Sovannara his absentee ballot in late September, and an associate had delivered it to the embassy last week.

Sovannara was sentenced to 20 years for leading an “insurrection” after being implicated in an opposition protest that turned violent. But referring to US laws that bar felony inmates from voting, the post on Sovannara’s Facebook page maintained that his ability to cast a ballot “shows that Mr Sovannara is not guilty of violent crime or [being] the ringleader of riots”.

According to one source with intimate knowledge of matter, Sovannara cast his vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, despite being a long-time Republican, because “Hillary loves human rights”.

Sovannara felt that Clinton’s firebrand Republican opponent, Donald Trump, “does not have a clear diplomatic policy with Asia”, the source added.

However, General Prisons Department spokesman Nuth Savna reportedly denied that Sovannara had been allowed to vote, telling Fresh News the activist “faked the story and [the act] for political gain”. Savna could not be reached. Srun Leang, director at Prey Sar, could also not be reached.

The US Embassy, citing privacy concerns, said it does comment on individual voters.

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