Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Justice ministry justifies jail terms for ex-opposition figures in plotting, incitement cases

Justice ministry justifies jail terms for ex-opposition figures in plotting, incitement cases

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Seng Theary was sentenced to six years in prison on June 14 and the Ministry of Justice's statement issued to explain the legal and factual bases for Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision. SUPPLIED

Justice ministry justifies jail terms for ex-opposition figures in plotting, incitement cases

The Ministry of Justice issued a statement to explain the legal and factual bases for Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s decision to sentence 42 defendants, including Cambodian-American lawyer Seng Chan Theary, to between five and eight years in prison for plotting and incitement.

The statement comes following international criticism in the aftermath of the arrest and jailing of Seng Chan Theary, also known as Seng Theary, who was sentenced to six years in prison on June 14, along with former opposition figures, such as Sam Rainsy who was hit with eight years.

In a two-page statement, the ministry underscored that the cases stemmed from what it termed an “attempted coup” led by former opposition party leader Rainsy, who it said had proclaimed that he would return to Cambodia on November 9, 2019 to “arrest” Prime Minister Hun Sen, who had been democratically elected a year earlier.

The statement said Rainsy had incited and appealed to the armed forces and civil servants as well as the general public to “rise up” against the government, and raised funds to “illegally provide” to armed forces to commit to executing the plan.

“There are clear and strong pieces of evidence for the aforementioned actions, some of which could easily be used to convict Sam Rainsy and his group of using Facebook and other social media platforms as a means to commit incitement and to serve their nefarious plan,” it said, adding that the court has compiled the results of the investigation and associated proceedings over the past three years.

It continued with a rhetorical question: “From a legal perspective, is there any country in the world that would not regard an ‘attempted coup’ or a ‘plan to violently topple the government’ as illegal, and see it instead as an exercise of freedom?”

The ministry told any involved party who may believe any of the court's decisions to be erroneous to – within the confines of the law and legal procedures – hire a team of lawyers, gather and prepare sufficient supporting evidence demonstrating why a verdict should be overturned, and file an appeal to a higher court for review.

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