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Court knocks down appeal by activists

Court knocks down appeal by activists

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal by five CNRP activists, including Meach Sovannara, over their continued exclusion from Appeal Court proceedings related to a 2015 “insurrection” conviction.

In July 2015, 11 CNRP activists were sentenced to between seven and 20 years on charges stemming from an opposition rally during the post-2013 election demonstrations at Freedom Park.

All 11 challenged the conviction on grounds that they had no legal representation during closing statements. But while accepting the appeals of six, the Appeal Court chose to exclude five from the process, offering no rationale for that decision.

Judge Soeng Panhavuth yesterday said the court could not accept a complaint over what he termed an Appeal Court procedural order. “This kind of decision cannot be used to file a complaint,” he said.

Defence attorney Choung Choungy said the decision seemed like a cover-up for the municipal court verdict. “The lower court’s mistake is not being corrected, he said via telephone. “This is why Cambodians never trust the judicial system.”

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