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Appeal rejected for student's ‘revolution’ post sentence

Student Kong Raiya, jailed over a Facebook post calling for a “colour revolution”, appears at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.
Student Kong Raiya, jailed over a Facebook post calling for a “colour revolution”, appears at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday. Pha Lina

Appeal rejected for student's ‘revolution’ post sentence

The Court of Appeal has upheld a 25-year-old student’s 18-month jail sentence after he called for a “colour revolution” on social media last August.

“We think his message is a provocative message intended to incite others, and therefore we think that the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict was correct,” judge Sin Visal said, while delivering the verdict against Kong Raiya yesterday.

“Who would like to start a color revolution with me to bring change to society?” a post on Raiya’s Facebook page read. Raiya claimed that he was advocating for peaceful reform.

“My teacher told me a colour revolution is nonviolent,’’ he said. “I acknowledge that I made a mistake, but my status was not intended to overthrow the government.” Raiya pleaded for leniency so that he could further his studies and take care of his parents.

Som Sokong, the suspect’s defence lawyer, said the verdict was inconsistent with previous rulings.

“There were people posting statuses threatening to kill [Deputy Prime Minister] Sar Kheng, and those people were only briefly detained”, he said.

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