Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Shoe thrower’, extradited after seeking refuge in Thailand, gets two-year jail sentence



‘Shoe thrower’, extradited after seeking refuge in Thailand, gets two-year jail sentence

Sam Sokha enters the Kampong Speu Provincial Court on Thursday, where she was sentenced to two years for incitement and insult for throwing a shoe at a CPP billboard in last year. Licadho
Sam Sokha enters the Kampong Speu Provincial Court on Thursday, where she was sentenced to two years for incitement and insult for throwing a shoe at a CPP billboard in last year. Licadho

‘Shoe thrower’, extradited after seeking refuge in Thailand, gets two-year jail sentence

Extradited refugee Sam Sokha was sentenced on Thursday by the Kampong Speu Provincial Court to two years in jail for throwing a shoe at a CPP billboard, months after she was convicted in absentia shortly before her deportation from Thailand.

Sokha posted a video on Facebook last April showing her throwing a sandal twice at a ruling party billboard in Preah Sihanouk province. After authorities announced they were seeking her arrest, she then fled to Thailand and was recognised by the UN as a refugee.

However, she was arrested by Thai officials in January and following a January 25 trial at Kampong Speu Provincial Court, Sokha was convicted in absentia of “incitement to discriminate” and “insulting a public official” and handed a two-year sentence and 5 million riel ($1,250) fine. She was deported back to Cambodia on February 8.

The court held a retrial on March 15 and announced the verdict on Thursday, upholding the same sentence, said Licadho provincial coordinator Khon Khoy. He said the trial was held in the absence of the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s lawyer and Sokha’s lawyer.

“I heard the name of the complainant was Lim Sarin, but we don’t know who he is,” he said.

Read more: How a small act of protest led to big problems

Khoy said Sokha admitted her guilt in court, hoping her confession would her result in some leniency.

“In the hearing, the accused said she regretted her deed and wanted the authorities and Samdech [Hun Sen] to pardon her. Her families also asked for that. But finally, the court did not agree,” Khoy said.

Presiding Judge Uk Retkunthea and Prosecutor Ou Phat could not be reached on Thursday.

Un Chanthol, Sokha’s lawyer, said he wasn’t present at the court and had heard conflicting reports about the 5 million riel fine, though he confirmed the conviction.

Amnesty International said the conviction was another “chilling example” of the Hun Sen government’s monitoring of Cambodians abroad and was being used to “silence or scare others also voicing their criticism” of the administration.

“Sam Sokha’s case is also a chilling example that Hun Sen is making good on his threats that he is ‘watching’ Cambodians abroad who voice dissent against the authorities,” said Amnesty spokesman Olof Blomqvist.

He added that increased cooperation among Asean countries in the area of surveillance did not bode well for dissenting voices in the region. “The threat of illegal deportation in the region – back to countries where activists could face jail on trumped up charges – is clearly very real.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Municipal hall releases map detailing colour coded Covid risks by commune

    Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng released an official map detailing the red, yellow and dark yellow zones within the city under the new lockdown orders for Phnom Penh announced on April 26. The designation of red, dark yellow and yellow corresponds to areas with high,

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown extended for another week

    The government late on April 26 announced an extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province for another seven days – or longer if residents do not comply with Covid-19 preventive measures and the community outbreak does not subside – until May 5. According

  • Gov't mulls extension of Phnom Penh, Takmao lockdown

    The Inter-ministerial National Commission for the Control and Enforcement of Lockdown held a video conference meeting on April 25 to review a draft document on the extension of lockdown in Phnom Penh and adjacent Kandal province’s Takmao town. The meeting was chaired by Minister of

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a