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Opposition publisher to appeal prison term

Opposition publisher to appeal prison term

IMPRISONED newspaper publisher Hang Chakra is set to appear at the Court of Appeal this morning to contest a defamation conviction handed down by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in June.

Choung Chou Ngy, the lawyer for Hang Chakra, said he had informed authorities at Prey Sar prison, where the publisher is currently being held, to release him for today's hearing.

"I will appear in the court as well to defend Hang Chakra and face the prosecutor and government lawyer," Choung Chou Ngy said.

The lawyer said his client's prospects were promising, provided the court was free of political influence, and added that Hang Chakra was willing to take the case all the way to the Supreme Court if his appeal was dismissed by judges in the lower court.

False information
In a hearing on June 26, Hang Chakra, the publisher of opposition-aligned daily newspaper Khmer Machas Srok, was found guilty of publishing disinformation, sentenced to a year in prison, and fined 9 million riels (US$2,250).

The subject of the government lawsuit was a series of articles published in April and May, alleging corrupt activities by officials under Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

Government lawyer Suong Chanthan, who is representing the officials who brought the disinformation charges against Hang Chakra, could not be reached for comment Monday.

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