Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court upholds term for former KPP president

Court upholds term for former KPP president

Former Khmer Power Party head Sourn Serey Ratha sits handcuffed in a police vehicle following his arrest in August in Phnom Penh.
Former Khmer Power Party head Sourn Serey Ratha sits handcuffed in a police vehicle following his arrest in August in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Court upholds term for former KPP president

The Appeal Court yesterday upheld a five-year conviction for former Khmer Power Party President Sourn Serey Ratha for allegedly “inciting military personnel to disobedience” by criticising the August deployment of troops to the Laos border during a period of heightened tensions with the Kingdom’s northern neighbour.

The former political party leader was also convicted in late August of incitement to commit a felony and demoralising the army after he posted on Facebook that a conflict between the two countries would only harm soldiers on the front lines, while generals would safely enjoy their “money” and “girls”.

Unusually, the appeal hearing was off limits to journalists, despite such hearings being open to the public. Presiding Judge Pol Samoeun only told reporters that he had “upheld the conviction” as he left the courtroom.

Court spokesman Touch Tharith justified the decision, saying that Serey Ratha did not deny his crime, but “only took time to defend why [he posted] it”, without elaborating on the defence, or why it was rejected.

Asked why journalists were prevented from entering the courtroom, Tharith would only say that the Appeal and Supreme courts had the authority to do so, adding that court officials in the past had issues with journalists causing “anarchy”.

Serey Ratha’s wife, Nay Chakrya, attended the hearing and said the charges against her husband should be dropped.

“The sentence is unjust. I will appeal to the Supreme Court against this case,” she said.

His lawyer, Ra Chanpiseth could not be reached.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be