Um Sam An, a former CNRP lawmaker currently serving more than two years in prison on charges of incitement, succeeded in having his appeal hearing at the Supreme Court delayed on Friday.
Claiming that he received his summons too late to appoint the lawyer of his choice, Sam An refused to be defended by a court-appointed lawyer. It is unclear when Sam An’s appeal proceedings will resume.
“Sam An told the judge that he rejected me because the court has not informed him in advance, and he [had] asked the court for three months to find the private attorney by himself,” said court-appointed lawyer Lor Kimgech.
Sam An was sentenced to two years and six months in prison in October for Facebook posts in which he accused the government of ceding territory to Vietnam by using improperly demarcated maps at a time of heightened political sensitivity surrounding border issues.
During his trial, Sam An was defended by lawyers Sam Sokong, Hem Socheat and Choung Choungy. None of them were present at his Friday hearing.
Socheat said yesterday Sam An’s sentence was highly unfair, contrasting it with the one-year sentences accorded to three members of the Prime Minister’s Bodyguard Unit who violently assaulted opposition lawmakers, even “though [that] was a serious crime”.
The head of the Supreme Court’s presiding council, Khem Pun, declined to comment yesterday.