The Supreme Court on January 4 upheld the four years prison sentence for a former military general who was convicted by the Siem Reap Provincial Court in March 2019 on charges of inciting soldiers to disobedience, possession or transport of weapons without permission, and incitement of others to commit criminal acts.
The defendant, Ly Davith, 46, was not present to hear the verdict read out by Judge Kim Sathavy.
Judge Sathavy provided no additional comment or further explanation for the court’s verdict.
“The Supreme Court considers that the Appeal Court’s decision to uphold the verdict of the Siem Reap Provincial Court is in accordance with the law,” she said.
Nou Chantha, the lawyer assigned by the Bar Association of the Kingdom of Cambodia to defend Davith on January 4, declined to elaborate on the case, saying only that the decision was wholly at the Supreme Court’s discretion.
Davith had told the judge at the Court of Appeal that he was Regional Deputy Chief of Staff of the Intervention Force, with the rank of Major General. He also noted that he had completed a master’s degree.
Davith said that in August 2018 he wrote a Facebook post criticising deforestation and land clearing.
“My criticism was about [private developer’s] construction only. I have never been opposed to the government. If I had a problem with the government I would never have attained the rank of Major General,” he told the judge.
Davith told the judge that he went into hiding for more than seven months after learning that the court had issued a warrant for his arrest.
Eventually, he surrendered to the Siem Reap Provincial Military Police who referred him to the provincial court on March 28, 2019.
According to court records, Davith was sentenced by the Siem Reap Provincial Court on July 31, 2019 to four years in prison on the aforementioned charges under articles 471, 490, 494 and 495 of the Criminal Code.