Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Dissident’s case has day in court

Dissident’s case has day in court

Dissident’s case has day in court

A US-based Cambodian dissident, who has been labelled a terrorist by the government, was tried in absentia by Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday over allegations he incited a military coup.

Judge Top Chhunheng said Sourn Serey Ratha, leader of the Khmer People Power Movement (KPPM), is accused of calling on the country’s armed forces to turn their weapons on Prime Minister Hun Sen in a Facebook post dated August 14, 2013. He is charged with “incitement to commit a crime”, Chhunheng said.

The message, which was read to the court, was titled “The Nonviolent Rose for Change”.

“Every heroic soldier! Turn your guns against the despot and sacrifice your life to protect the people who have the same Khmer blood because Cambodian troops and Cambodian people are Khmer and we have to protect each other,” it said.

During yesterday’s hearing, the court questioned six witnesses, including two police officers and four people – Tut Chan Panha, Sok Dalis, Hy Borin and Ly Linpheng – who were charged last August with incitement and briefly detained for allegedly producing and distributing materials encouraging a military coup under the orders of Serey Ratha.

The four witnesses said they did not know Serey Ratha and were only in contact with him through Facebook, when they wanted to buy flowers to distribute to military personnel.

Deputy prosecutor Meas Chan Piseth called for more severe charges for Serey Ratha.

“I would like to ask the court to transfer this case to the investigating judge to re-investigate under the additional charge of the act of traitory and for him to be strongly punished.”

Defence lawyer Sok Sam Oeun said Serey Ratha’s message was not intended to incite any violence.

Serey Ratha could not be reached for comment.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY ALICE CUDDY

MOST VIEWED

  • PM orders immediate action against ‘sexy’ live streamers

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday ordered immediate action against women who live stream their sales pitches on Facebook wearing revealing clothing. The prime minister said the practice erodes traditional Cambodian values and disgraces women. Hun Sen gave the order to officials attending the Cambodian

  • Tourist area greenlit in Sihanoukville

    The National Committee for Coastal Management and Development will coordinate with relevant ministries over the establishment of a billion-dollar tourist area named Neak Reach in Preah Sihanouk province after it was proposed by the Ministry of Tourism. The Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and

  • Hun Sen defends decision to dock Westerdam cruise ship

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday hit back at critics who say he allowed the Westerdam cruise ship to dock in Sihanoukville for political reasons. Speaking at an annual gathering of the Ministry of Interior, Hun Sen said he acted to avert a humanitarian catastrophe

  • Cool heads will defeat Covid-19

    Since Covid-19 was first reported as a world health issue, cruise ships have been the worst to suffer after airlines. The experiences of those who were initially trapped on the Covid-19-stricken Diamond Princess are unimaginable. The cruise ship was rejected from docking at one

  • Affordable housing project in Kandal nearing completion

    Worldbridge Homes Co Ltd’s $73 million affordable housing project in Kandal province’s Koh Kor village, in Sa’ang district, is on track to be completed at year’s end or at the beginning of next year, its general manager Yuk Sothirith told The Post

  • Crimes up with 211 deaths, influx of foreigners to blame

    Minister of Interior Sar Kheng on Wednesday said crimes increased by eight per cent last year, resulting in 211 deaths. He revealed the figures during the ministry’s 2019 review and laid the blame for the increase on an influx of foreigners into the Kingdom. “The crime