Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Licadho staffer appeals verdict

Licadho staffer appeals verdict

Licadho staffer appeals verdict

Leang Sokchoeun, 28, who is an employee of the local rights group Licadho, arrives at the Appeal Court in Phnom Penh yesterday.

The Appeal Court yesterday denied bail for a Licadho staffer now serving a two-year sentence for disinformation, and said it would issue a ruling in his appeal on July 14.

Pol Sam Oeun, chief of the Appeal Court’s trial council, said the bail request was rejected because it violated court procedure and the court believed it was important to secure the defendant.

Leang Sokchouen, an employee of the rights group Licadho, was convicted of disinformation last August for distributing anti-government leaflets along with three Khmer Krom men in Takeo province.

Thach Vannak, a former monk, and Thach Le, a motorbike taxi driver, were also sentenced to two years prison. A fourth, alleged mastermind Thach Khong Phoung, was sentenced to three years jail  time in abstentia.

The leaflets were dropped in three districts in Takeo province in January and April and criticised the celebration of the January 7 Vietnamese invasion that toppled the Khmer Rouge regime, saying that event should instead by recalled as the day the Kingdom became “abused and occupied” by Vietnam.

In his decision in the case, Takeo provincial court judge Cheng Bunly said “these actions affect the national leaders and create unrest in society”.

Licadho, along with international human rights groups, denounced the arrest, trial and conviction of Leang Sokchouen, saying they were riddled with irregularities and exemplified the court system’s malleability in the face of sensitive political issues.

At yesterday’s hearing, Leang Sokchouen said he was only acquainted with the three other men in the case and not involved with their actions, adding that he hadn’t even read the leaflets.

Ham Sunrith, Leang Sokchouen's attorney, said his client was innocent and had been convicted without evidence.

“I would like the court to drop the charges and free him so he can support his family, who are dependent upon him,” he said.

Am Sam Ath, a senior monitor at Licadho, said yesterday that authorities had mistakenly arrested the wrong man.

The police report had identified a Vietnamese man living in Phnom Penh’s Russei Keo district named “Leang Sokly, called Chhoeun”, as a suspect.

Leang Sokchouen is Khmer and lives in Sen Sok district, Licadho has said.

“We are sorry for the court’s decision to sentence him to two years in prison, and we hope that the Appeal Court will dismiss the accusations and free him,” Am Sam Ath said.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said