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No bail for monk who ‘insulted’ PM

Defrocked monk Horn Sophanny escorted by officials after his arrest in June for alleged possession of a gun.
Defrocked monk Horn Sophanny escorted by officials after his arrest in June for alleged possession of a gun. Photo supplied

No bail for monk who ‘insulted’ PM

The Supreme Court denied bail to an activist monk charged with illegal weapons possession for posing with a toy gun in a video allegedly insulting Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Judge Seong Panhavuth upheld the Appeal Court’s September decision.

Horn Sophanny, a member of the social justice network led by outspoken monk But Buntenh, was arrested in June for illegal weapons position and incitement.

He had posted an image of himself in April posing with the gun on Facebook, with text below criticising the government and saying he intended to use the gun if government warnings of a civil war turn out correct.

Buntenh himself is facing a lawsuit over unsubstantiated claims he misappropriated funds for murdered analyst Kem Ley’s funeral. Buntenh has denied the allegations.

Sophanny’s lawyer, Choung Choungy, said yesterday that a verdict is due on December 12.

He also complained that provincial authorities, rather than religious authorities, had ordered Sophanny defrocked.

“If he committed the crime, then the Religion Department should have defrocked him . . . The charge of possessing the weapon is not right because it is a plastic gun,” Choungy said.

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