Bangladeshi national Rafiqul Islam (C) attempts to speak to reporters as he and D P Paudel (R) of Nepal are ushered into a van at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court after a hearing last year. Photograph: Pha Lina/Phnom Penh Post
A defence lawyer for three foreign nationals convicted in 2011 and sentenced to eight years each under the Kingdom’s anti-terrorism laws is demanding that the Court of Appeal hold the new trial, which has been delayed indefinitely, as soon as possible.
Attorney Muong Sokun said his clients, Bangladeshi national Rafiqul Islam, a former owner of a restaurant in the capital’s Chamkarmon district; Miah Muhammed Huymayan Kabir, also from Bangladesh; and a Nepalese man, D P Paudel, had been unjustly convicted and were languishing in Prey Sar prison.
Sokun told the Post yesterday that adding to the urgency was the fact that Kabir, the eldest of the three, is severely ill.
The three were arrested in April, 2010 after letters allegedly bearing their names arrived at the British, US and Australian embassies in Phnom Penh threatening an impending terrorist attack.
The senders identified themselves as members of al-Qaeda, a group not in the habit of tipping off targets before striking.
After the conviction in February, Islam maintained his innocence, shouting that he was not involved in the case.
“I would like to ask the judge council of the Court of Appeal to speed up their appeal hearing as soon as possible, because they were convicted unjustly by the lower court,” Sokun told the Post. He filed the appeal in February within days of the conviction.
Judge Thou Mouny said the hearing was initially set for today.
A scheduling problem bumped the hearing, though the court did not provide a specific date, he said before declining to comment further.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]