Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lese majeste ‘violator’ to remain behind bars while appeal is lodged

Lese majeste ‘violator’ to remain behind bars while appeal is lodged

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Ban Samphy of Siem Reap became the second person charged under the Kingdom's new law against insulting the King. Supplied

Lese majeste ‘violator’ to remain behind bars while appeal is lodged

A violater of the lese majeste law continued to be held in jail in Siem Reap province despite having served his sentence, after an appeal from the provincial prosecutor blocked his release.

Ban Samphy, 70, a barber and deputy leader of CNRP in Siem Reap province’s Chi Kraeng district, was sentenced in October to one-year imprisonment, five months of which were suspended, after being convicted of violating Cambodia’s lese majeste law.

Samphy was arrested and put in pre-trial detention on May 20 after he was ruled to have shared an offensive photograph of the King on social media. The picture depicted Prime Minister Hun Sen, first lady Bun Rany and the King in a car, accompanied by a message insulting the king.

His defence lawyer Sam Titseyha said his client was innocent of wrongdoing.

“He [Samphy] just shared the pictures from another user. He did not edit the picture,” he said.

Titseyha added that with the five-month suspended sentence Samphy should have been released on Thursday, but his release was delayed due to an appeal.

“He received a one-year sentence with five months suspended, and he has served a seven-month jail term already. But the prosecutor filed an appeal complaint against the trial judge’s decision. The case has now been forwarded to the Appeal Court,” he said.

Siem Reap provincial court spokesperson Yin Srang confirmed the situation, saying on Thursday: “The prosecutor filed the appeal complaint, so he could not be released.”

Samphy’s is the second high profile lese majeste case this year, following the government’s controversial March amendment to the lese majeste law which criminalised any “word, gesture, writing, picture or other media which affects the dignity of the individual [the King]”.

In May, Kheang Navy, 50, became the first person to fall foul of the new law. Navy, principal at Stung Sen district’s Prey Tahou Primary School, was arrested for comments he made on Facebook accusing the King of bearing responsibility for the dissolution of the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party.

On Thursday, a local police official told The Post that in early December Navy was “released and began teaching again”.

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished