Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Former Khmer Power Party leader Serey Ratha gets five years in prison




Former Khmer Power Party leader Serey Ratha gets five years in prison

Former Khmer Power Party President Sourn Serey Ratha, seen in handcuffs, gets out of a police vehicle following his arrest earlier this month in Phnom Penh.
Former Khmer Power Party President Sourn Serey Ratha, seen in handcuffs, gets out of a police vehicle following his arrest earlier this month in Phnom Penh. Photo supplied

Former Khmer Power Party leader Serey Ratha gets five years in prison

Former Khmer Power Party head Sourn Serey Ratha was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment and fined $2,500 on Friday for allegedly inciting soldiers to disobey orders by criticising the recent deployment of troops to the Lao border.

His defence lawyer, Sok Sam Oeun, yesterday said Serey Ratha was found guilty of inciting military personnel to disobedience, demoralising the army and incitement.

“That’s why he received five years,” he said. “He will appeal.”

Serey Ratha, 44, was arrested earlier this month after he wrote on Facebook that a conflict between the two countries would only harm soldiers, while generals could safely enjoy their “money” and “girls”.

A snap trial followed just a day after his arrest, but was postponed by 10 days to allow the one-time convicted “terrorist” to find a lawyer. The judgment was pronounced a day after his trial, in which he faced up to 12 years in prison.

Sam Oeun said that the judgment might intimidate others. “He just said it like that [without thinking] and got sentenced: it makes others scared and think that there is no right to talk,” he said.

Serey Ratha’s wife, Nai Chakriya, said the prison sentence of five years and 10 million riel fine (about $2,500) was too harsh.

“To me, it is unjust. It was just his expression and what he said, because he cares about the army, he loves the nation and was worried about the nation,” she said.

“He did not mean to cause a problem. But the court sentenced him like that anyway. It is not justice for him.”

MOST VIEWED

  • School reopening to be postponed until November

    Minister of Education Hang Chuon Naron on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Hun Sen requesting a delay of school reopening across the Kingdom until November, when the new academic year begins. In his letter, Chuon Naron said the postponement is warranted to avoid the new

  • Foreigners in Kingdom must now register in FPCS system

    The Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration (GDI) announced that it would not grant visa extensions to foreigners staying in Cambodia if their names are not listed on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia System (FPCS) by July 1. Foreign nationals can register in the

  • Covid-19 at ‘alarming rate’, health ministry says

    The Covid-19 risk level for individual transmission is at an “alarming rate” in the Kingdom and its probability is “not low”, warned Health Ministry spokesperson Or Vandine. “Cambodia’s coronavirus scenario is classified as being at an early stage of the pandemic because of ongoing

  • Mandatory quarantine for 30,000 workers begins

    Some of the roughly 30,000 workers from factories and enterprises across the Kingdom who went on leave during Khmer New Year began their government-imposed 14-day quarantine on Monday. Speaking at a press conference while visiting workers at the Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone on Monday, Ministry

  • Unemployed to get $40 per month

    The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has instructed enterprises, business owners and travel agencies in five provinces to prepare the proper forms for the suspension of employment contracts. This, it said, will make it easier for the ministry to transfer $40 a month to workers

  • Gov’t travel ban flouted

    While the majority of Cambodians have paid heed to Prime Minister Hun Sen’s order to stay put and not travel during the Khmer New Year – the holidays of which were also postponed – several hundred have left Phnom Penh nonetheless. They have allegedly breached provincial

  • G20 energy ministers struggle to finalise oil output cuts

    Top oil producers struggled to finalise production cuts during a virtual summit held by Group of 20 (G20) energy ministers on Friday, despite US President Donald Trump’s mediation efforts to end a standoff with Mexico. The final G20 communique appeared to gloss over simmering divisions

  • Kingdom revises travel restriction order

    The government on Friday eased the district and provincial border restrictions issued on Thursday. People are now allowed to cross districts within their provinces. Phnom Penh and Kandal province are to be treated as a single region where people are allowed to travel freely. In

  • Private schools struggling

    The Cambodian Higher Education Association has claimed that 113 private educational establishments are facing bankruptcy because of their inability to pay rent and staff salaries in light of nationwide school closures caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. It said the financial trouble started when the Ministry of

  • Khmer New Year holidays postponed

    In an effort to halt Covid-19 infections in the Kingdom, Prime Minister Hun Sen has postponed the Khmer New Year holidays scheduled from April 13 to 16. While the people will not have their usual break, nor will there be any public celebrations or gatherings at pagodas,