Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Families call for release of prisoners



Families call for release of prisoners

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Seven CNRP activists are transported to the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh. Pha Lina

Families call for release of prisoners

Following the release of 19 political prisoners in Venezuela, families and supporters of activists who have been jailed in the Kingdom have called on the government to free them too.

On Friday, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro granted conditional freedom to 39 political prisoners, with 19 already walking free, according to a Bloomberg report. The group included opposition lawmakers and activists.

Now, having seen the releases in Venezuela, families of political prisoners in Cambodia have expressed hope that their family members who are in jail will soon be released as well.

An Sophea, the wife of Roeun Chetra, who was sentenced to seven years in prison on a charge of insurrection related to a violent 2014 anti-government protest at Freedom Park, said she will appeal to Prime Minister Hun Sen and King Norodom Sihamoni to release her husband.

“I don’t know who to ask for help. If they allow us to meet [the King and prime minister] I will make my request to him, Samdech Techo [Prime Minister Hun Sen] and the King.

“I want my husband’s sentence to be reduced or he be pardoned . . . the court sentenced him to seven years.

“My husband has been dealt an injustice, he did not commit a sin or kill anyone,” she said, holding back tears.

Chi Sophal, the father of An Batham, a Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) youth member who was sentenced to seven years in prison under similar circumstances as Chetra, also wants his son released like those in Venezuela.

“We also want a release through a pardon,” Sophal said.

Sem Van, the wife of another CNRP youth member who was sentenced to seven years in jail for participating in the Freedom Park protest, said she had been facing difficulties since her husband’s arrest.

“We want him to be released. But I don’t know what to do as I have little education. The court accused him of participating in insurrection but my husband did not do anything.

“There was no evidence of wrongdoing, but the court still charged him,” she said.

Chin Malin, the spokesman for the Ministry of Justice, said the situation in Venezuela is very different from that in Cambodia.

“Cambodia doesn’t have a political crisis, and there are neither political crimes nor political prisoners.

“There are only politicians who violated criminal law in Cambodia. So, a request to release political prisoners is impossible as we have no political prisoners here,” Malin stressed.

He said a reduction in sentence or granting pardons only occurred during certain national festivals or in special circumstances, and that too upon the prime minister’s request to the King.

Mu Sochua, the former CNRP deputy president, however, urged a release of all political prisoners. “For national reconciliation, all political prisoners should be released,” she said on Monday.

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF