The family and defence lawyer of a man sentenced to 15 years in prison last year for belonging to an armed anti-government group called the “Sovannaphumi Army Movement” called on the Court of Appeal to release him yesterday.
Vy Soth, 34, son of convicted Phlot Vy, 63, said that his father was innocent, and had been persuaded by Pheng Dima, an official in the Council of Ministers, to infiltrate the Sovannaphumi Army Movement in order to collect information for the Cambodian government.
“He was not a traitor, but he was allegedly accused by Cambodian authorities, and was convicted to 15 years in prison,” Soth told the Post, adding that his father, a former teacher of traditional medicine, had nine children to care for.
“To find justice for him, I would like to ask the Court of Appeal to take his case to an appeal hearing as soon as possible, and find justice for him and release him.”
Vy was one of six people convicted last October of forming an illegal armed movement.
At the time, self-described group leader Chea Sarann said that the group was formed when someone allegedly representing Taiwan offered him US$20 million to overthrow the Cambodian government, a claim that was never substantiated.
Chea Sophy, Phlot Vy’s lawyer, denied his client’s wrongful involvement in the group.
“My client was just assigned by a Cambodian government official to join and work with his armed movement in order to collect information about its activities and report it to the government,” he said, stressing Vy’s innocence and calling on the Court of Appeal to speed up his hearing.
Vy argued at Chea Sophy’s October trial that his joining of the movement had been known and approved by Pheng Dima.
Dima could not be reached for comments yesterday, nor could Court of Appeal officials. Ngeth Sarath, the appeal court’s deputy general prosecutor declined to comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]