King Norodom Sihamoni issued a royal pardon today to former opposition Senator Hong Sok Hour, who served more than 800 days of a seven-year prison sentence on charges of “incitement” and “forgery”.
“We, the King, order to pardon the convicted Hong Sok Hour, whom the appeal court charged on June 29, 2017 with forging documents and incitement to cause chaos,” the royal decree reads.
Sok Hour, at the time a senator from the then-Sam Rainsy Party, was arrested in August 2015 and later sentenced for allegedly posting a “fake” border treaty between Cambodia and Vietnam on Facebook. Then-opposition party leader Sam Rainsy was named as an accomplice.
The Fresh News article announcing the pardon also posted a conciliatory letter apparently written by Sok Hour to Prime Minister Hun Sen. Signed September 4, it concludes with a request for pardon.
“As a Cambodian citizen, I have only one wish, to follow the Samdech’s government policy… to ensure that the country is in national reconciliation in order to protect the territory and maintain a good relationship with neighbouring countries,” the letter reads.
“I regret that I committed a mistake against [Hun Sen’s] policy on the border issue by using incorrect documents leading to public confusion… From now on I will be more cautious not to let this problem happen again.”
Sok Hour’s wife, Kun Lum Ang, said she learned of the pardon from the media, saying “we’ve tried to compromise for a long time”.