The Appeals Court yesterday upheld the conviction of Khmer National Liberation Front (KNLF) member Hin Chan, who was sentenced to seven years in jail on charges of conspiracy to commit treason and using a fake passport.
Chan, 34, was sentenced by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last year after being arrested in 2014 on his way back to Phnom Penh from Thailand.
According to the prosecution, his treasonous act was possessing, with intent to distribute, 250 books written by Sam Serey, leader of the KNLF, which the Cambodian government has designated a terrorist organisation.
Presiding Judge Pol Sam Oeun said yesterday that Chan’s sentence could not be reduced “since the crime is very severe”.
At a previous hearing earlier this month Chan denied intending to pass out the books, saying he had brought them from Bangkok, where he was studying at the time, to be submitted as evidence in a case before the Appeals Court.
As for the fake passport charge, Chan had not denied carrying a friend’s passport with his own photograph pasted in. Rather, he had claimed that since the document was never checked by police on his entry to Cambodia he had not in fact used it.
Thirteen KNLF members were handed prison sentences of between five and eight years following crackdowns in 2009 and 2013. Founder Sam Serey, who currently lives in Denmark, insists the group is nonviolent.