Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Renewed appeals call for Mam Sonando's release

Renewed appeals call for Mam Sonando's release

Renewed appeals call for Mam Sonando's release

121129_02b

Beehive Radio director Mam Sonando flashes the ‘peace’ sign at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court earlier this year. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

The wife of Mam Sonando, imprisoned director of Beehive Radio and director of the Association of Democrats, appealed to the government and the court yesterday with a renewed call for leniency for her husband in the wake of US President Barack Obama’s offer of support last week.

Din Phannara said that she was delighted to hear that Obama raised the conviction against her husband during a bilateral talk on the sidelines of ASEAN with Prime Minister Hun Sen.

“What Obama picked up reveals an authenticity that my husband is not involved in the crime for which he was convicted by the court at all, which is why I would like the government and the court to cancel the allegation,” she said.

She added that she is still hopeful and confident that the government as well as the court system will find justice for her husband at last.

“I hope the Appeal Court will take the case of my husband as soon as it has received the legal documents from the municipal court,” she said.

On October 1, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court handed down a sentence of 20 years and a fine of 10 million riels ($2,500) on insurrection charges to the 71-year-old broadcaster.

The conviction has been widely denounced by rights groups and donors alike who have termed Sonando a political prisoner, and say the allegations were falsified to punish him for politically-sensitive reporting.

This is his third imprisonment.

During the bilateral talks with between Hun Sen and Obama, the premier insisted that there are no political prisoners in Cambodia – a claim he has since reiterated in public speeches.

Phay Siphan, spokesman for the Council of Ministers, said that the government is unable to facilitate the release of prisoners who were sentenced by the court because it is beyond the capacity of the government.

On November 16, the Cambodian Center of Human Rights sent an open letter to the president of the Appeal Court, You Bunleng, urging quick action on the pending appeal.

The letter highlights the lack of proof in the case, and says the verdict of the municipal court reflected a lack of independence in the court system of Cambodia.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Titthara at [email protected]

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