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Exiled prince to go to trial

Exiled prince to go to trial

THE two most severe charges against exiled Prince Norodom Sirivudh have been dropped,

but he still faces a possible 15-year jail sentence.

The Phnom Penh Municipal court has scheduled the in absentia trial of Sirivudh for

Feb 15, according to written notification received by his lawyers on Feb 6. Say Bory,

one of his lawyers, said the charges of terrorism and seeking to destroy the government

had been dropped.

A charge of criminal conspiracy, under an organized crime provision in the UNTAC

criminal code, remained. A new charge relating to illegal weapons had been added.

The organized crime charge, article 36 of the UNTAC law - which refers to "a

formal or informal association" of people who undertake "specific acts

of preparation" to commit crimes - provides for a three to 15 year prison sentence.

Article 54, the illegal weapon charge, allows a maximum sentence of three years for

the "unlawful bearing or transporting of illicit weapons."

The weapons charge is believed to relate to guns found at his house during a police

search. Sirivudh and his wife have said some were his bodyguards' guns, others were

antiques.

The other two dropped charges, under a State of Cambodia terrorism law and the Royal

government's law that outlaws the Khmer Rouge, would have seen Sirivudh facing a

20-30 year sentence, or life imprisonment.

Say Bory would not say whether a postponement of the trial would be sought, until

he had had time to discuss the defense stategy with his colleague Heng Chy. Sirivudh,

in France, was unavailable for comment but has previously expressed the desire to

be allowed to return to Cambodia for his trial.

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