Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ex-CNRP leaders, activists get jail term for plotting, incitement

Ex-CNRP leaders, activists get jail term for plotting, incitement

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian-American lawyer Seng Theary, who received six-year prison term for conspiracy to plotting against the government, was arrested and sent to prison after the verdict was delivered. FB

Ex-CNRP leaders, activists get jail term for plotting, incitement

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on June 14 sentenced a number of former leaders, activists and supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), including prominent Cambodian-American lawyer Seng Theary, to between five and eight years in prison for “plotting and fomenting insecurity in society”.

Following the hearing, Choung Choungy, the lawyer for Theary and the former activists, said the court had sentenced her and four other people to six years in prison and ordered their immediate detention.

Theary, who received six-year prison term for conspiracy to plotting against the government, was arrested and sent to prison after the verdict was delivered.

Choungy said the court also sentenced former CNRP president Sam Rainsy, Eng Chhay Eang, Ou Chanrith, Tok Vanchan, Ho Vann, Men Sothavarin and other activists to eight years in prison each on the same charge. Three other activists – Heng Chan Rithy, Tum Bunthorn, and Kak Kumphea – who are already in prison – were given an extra six-year prison term. In addition, several other activists were given five-year terms but had their sentences suspended.

He added that as Theary’s lawyer, he intended to file a grievance with the Court of Appeal. “I will meet with my client in prison to discuss the appeal. I will argue the appeal as best I can, but ultimately the decision is made at the discretion of the court,” he said.The US embassy in Phnom Penh took to social media deploring the verdicts.

“We are deeply troubled by today’s unjust verdicts against Seng Theary and others. Freedom of expression and association, and tolerance of dissenting views, are vital components of democracy. We call on Cambodian authorities to release her and other human rights activists from unjust imprisonment,” it said.

Am Sam Ath, deputy director of rights group LICADHO, opined that the verdict against them would draw a lot of criticism.

“I understand that these verdicts and arrests will draw the criticism of the international community over respect for human rights and democracy. I believe the only means that politicians should employ when there is a political deadlock is a culture of dialogue in finding a solution,” he added.

Justice ministry spokesman Chin Malin said the municipal court’s decision was the direct implementation of Cambodian law and the court had a solid and clear legal basis to charge and sentence them for plotting to topple the government under the pretext of a return of the convict Sam Rainsy.

“This is the judicial procedure of Cambodia, which is a sovereign state. Any sides that refuse to accept the decision and support the accused can help them procure legal representation or provide solid evidence, testimony to judicially discharge the burden against them and they can file a grievance with the Appeal Court according to legal procedure,” he said.

Kin Phea, director of the Royal Academy of Cambodia’s International Relations Institute, said the decision was made at the discretion of the court.

“I think it is the right of the international community to express their opinions and concerns over this verdict. But Cambodia is a sovereign state, so the court action is an internal affair under Cambodian law,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol