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

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Banteay Meanchey gunfight sees 15 Thais arrested, three officers injured

    The Banteay Meanchey Military Police have arrested 15 Thai suspects and their accomplices after a gun battle between two Thai groups caused injuries to three police officers in the early hours of November 21, local authorities said. National Military Police spokesman Eng Hy said that according to

  • PM: Do not defile Tonle Sap swamp forest or else

    Prime Minister Hun Sen ordered police to arrest anyone – including government officials – involved with the deforestation of the flooded forests surrounding the Tonle Sap Lake because it is an area important to the spawning of many species of fish, among other reasons. Speaking in a