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High court upholds verdict against Chan

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KNLF member Hin Chan (front) leaves the appeals court in 2016 after his seven-year conviction was upheld. Hong Menea

High court upholds verdict against Chan

The Supreme Court on Monday upheld a guilty verdict against a member of the Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF).

Judge Kong Srim announced the verdict against Hin Chan, 36, who received a seven-year prison sentence during a trial at the Appeal Court on June 27.

He said Chan admitted his guilt and asked the Supreme Court to reduce his jail term from seven to five years, while the defence lawyer claimed his client was not aware of the aim of the KNLF movement and therefore should see his prison term reduced.

However, the Supreme Court said the defendant is a committee member who controlled the website of the KNLF, which is founded and led by Sam Serey.

When Chan was arrested, police discovered booklets titled The Roots of January 7, which were highly critical of the government.

The judge said Chan also gave a photo of himself to use in a passport of a friend, an act deemed as a forgery of public documents.

“Therefore, the Appeal Court made a just decision and the verdict shall be upheld,” Judge Srim said.

Defence lawyer Suos Vannak said after the trial that the defendant had acknowledged his guilt and therefore should see his punishment reduced. “But when announcing the verdict, the court did not reduce the punishment,” he said.

Hin Chan resides in Kampong Speu province. According to the lawyer, Chan used to be a monk and pursued his studies in Bangkok, Thailand. After the monkhood, Chan joined a workshop arranged by Sam Serey in Bangkok.

He returned to Cambodia in 2014, bringing along 246 copies of The Roots of January 7.

He was arrested and charged with “plotting” and “forgery of public document” based on articles 453 and 629 of the Criminal Code, and the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced him to seven years in jail.

At the Supreme Court trial, Chan said he joined KNLF in Thailand because he wanted to gain knowledge. He brought the booklets with the intention of sharing information, unaware that this action was considered an act against the government.

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