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‘Colour revolution’ jail term upheld for youth

Kong Raya being escorted yesterday after the Supreme Court upholds his conviction.
Kong Raya being escorted yesterday after the Supreme Court upholds his conviction. Pha Lina

‘Colour revolution’ jail term upheld for youth

The Supreme Court yesterday upheld the 14-month sentence of a political science student who called for a “colour revolution” on Facebook, with the undergraduate again slamming the case against him.

“I regret the rotten reputation of the justice system in Cambodia. The horrible reputation makes me feel ashamed,” said Kong Raiya, who has already served 12 months, after his appeal was once again overturned.

In August 2015, Raiya wrote on his Facebook page: “Someday in the future, I will launch the colour revolution in order to change the cheap regime running Cambodian society.” But he has since maintained the message was to inspire peaceful protest.

Ou Virak, the head of the Future Forum policy think tank, said he was not surprised by the verdict. “It is pretty rare that somebody who has been in a lengthy pre-trial detention will be acquitted,” he said, adding that legality rarely factored in. “I don’t believe there’s anything that says a colour revolution is illegal.”

Moeun Chhean Nariddh, head of the Cambodian Institute for Media Studies, said Raiya’s sentence was a threat to free expression. “A person should not be prosecuted for expressing himself,” he said.

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