Acting head of state Say Chhum has pardoned Thak Lany, a former Senator from the former Sam Rainsy Party, following a request from Prime Minister Hun Sen.
The pardon comes four years after Lany fled Cambodia to avoid serving her sentence for criminal conviction.
“Thak Lany, who was convicted and sentenced to 18 months imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of eight million riel [$2,000] after the Supreme Court upheld her guilty verdict on February 26, 2018, is hereby pardoned,” Say Chhum said in a royal decree.
Lany was convicted by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in November 2016 for defamation and incitement to cause social chaos.
The case stemmed from her comments made in a public forum in Ratanakkiri province’s Lumphat district, where she accused Prime Minister Hun Sen of orchestrating the murder of political analyst Kem Ley who was shot dead on July 10, 2016.
The Appeal Court and Supreme Court upheld the sentence in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
Lany could not be reached for comment on March 16.
Former opposition law maker Ou Chanrath said Lany is currently living in self-exile in Sweden. A few months ago, Lany said she wanted to return to Cambodia after being away from her family for too long.
“A few months ago, I heard that she would request a royal pardon in order to return home because she is old now and has been living in another country, far away from her family members who are all in Cambodia.
“I think there’s nothing wrong with her return and that she should be granted a royal pardon,” Chanrath said.
He said Lany recently took to Facebook asking those from the former opposition party to refrain from insulting her as she had contributed a lot to democracy in Cambodia. Chanrath said he was not aware whether Lany would seek to re-enter politics again.